Giants’ Wink Martindale sees ‘no ceiling’ for star 2nd year pass rusher

nfl: new york giants at washington commanders, kayvon thibodeaux
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Just a few months ago, many were calling New York Giants second-year past Kayvon Thibodeaux a “bust.” In fact, prominent media members took subliminal and public shots at his effort and overall production.

Thibodeaux took the criticism in stride, not responding verbally but rather with his actions. This season, Thibodeaux has collected 13 sacks, including 37 pressures with 21 tackles, per PFF. In fact, this is the first time in a Wink Martindale defensive scheme that an outside linebacker has posted double-digit sacks in a season, and the Giants still have four games remaining.

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The Giants are Seeing the Best of Kayvon

Martindale was ecstatic about landing such a high-caliber talent out of Oregon during the 2022 NFL draft, but the 22-year-old is just hitting his stride, dominating over the past few weeks, including an eight-pressure performance against the Washington commanders in Week 11.

“The guy has no ceiling because he doesn’t allow himself to have a ceiling. It’s crazy because he’s only 22 years old, but he’s becoming that football savant in the NFL where he sees things before they happen.”

Playing in New York is no easy feat, especially given the harsh criticism and bright lights. Thibodeaux could’ve easily caved to the negative attention, but he continues to indicate that he’s producing because of his love for the game and not the negativity that has reared its ugly head in his direction earlier this year.

People forget that he’s only 22 and still developing as a player and a human being. The former 5th overall pick has displayed signs of brilliance, including a season-high three sacks against the New York Jets, in which he posted his highest past rush rate of the season at 86.1.

Of course, there are some things he needs to clean up, notably a 16.2% tackle rate, but he’s been otherwise adequate against the run and an impact player rushing the passer. It’s also important to note that he’s forced three fumbles this year, two in consecutive weeks against New England and Green Bay.

All Kayvon has to do is continue being himself and the rest should take care of itself.