The unpredictability of the 2022 NFL draft is coming to a peek for the New York Giants and the other 31 teams in the NFL. The Giants, however, have two top-10 picks, giving them a ton of leverage to land a stud offensive tackle and defensive impact player.
With player stocks rising and falling over the past few weeks, initial reports are starting to emerge regarding specific players falling into the “love” category for GM Joe Schoen.
There was a consensus belief that Oregon stand-out pass-rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux could be the Giants’ selection with one of their first-round picks, but that idea might be falling by the wayside.
On the Breaking Blue podcast, Jordan Raanan of ESPN stated that he doesn’t get the impression the Giants are very high on Kayvon Thibodeaux, which would stifle previous reports indicating their interest.
Thibodeaux, who stands at 6’5″ and 250 pounds, tallied 7.0 sacks and 12 tackles for loss last season to go with two forced fumbles. He’s considered one of the highest upside EDGE defenders in the draft class, but some have raised concerns over his character. Considering what Micah Parsons went through last year coming out of Penn State, Thibodeaux’s situation is dwarfed in size.
Looking at Thibodeaux objectively as a prospect, the majority of his pressures came in three games against Cal, UCLA, and Oregon State. That accounts for 27 of his 48 total pressures. Teams tried to take Thibodeaux out of the game, combo-blocking him and allocating extra attention to shut him down.
However, Thibodeaux features unbelievable get-off speed and has the perfect frame for an edge defender in the NFL. Most of his concerns are work ethic related and fundamentals-based, all coachable negatives. The work ethic red flag could be a legitimate concern, which might be why the Giants have soured on him recently.
On Wednesday, during a press conference, Schoen did mention that players they believe have poor character are removed from their draft board. There’s no telling if Thibodeaux has crossed any red flags threshold, but according to Raanan’s report, the Giants aren’t 100% convinced he’s their guy.
Of course, this could be a smokescreen to draw attention away from the Giants and Thibodeaux before the draft, but Raanan also mentioned their love for Florida State pass rusher Jermaine Johnson.
Johnson, who transferred from Georgia to Florida State, stands at 6’5″ and 260 pounds. While he’s a bit rawer as a pass rusher, he contributed 11.5 sacks and 17.5 tackles for loss in his best collegiate season.
The Seminole stand-out spent the majority of his snaps lined up outside the tackle, allowing him to use his speed and bend around the edge.
Looking at his physical traits, Johnson is above average in height, weight, arm length, hand size and featured a phenomenal 40-yard dash time for a player of his size (4.58). Interestingly, his bench press (21) and vertical jump (32 inches) were both underwhelming. Johnson can provide solid run support early in his career, which is necessary given Wink Martindale’s aggressive scheme. Jermain’s attributes give him the upside the Giants are looking for as a pass rusher, and luckily, they have time to continue his development.
There is an argument to make that Johnson is a better prospect than Thibodeaux, given he’s still developing and growing, whereas Thibs plateaued after a dominant freshman season. In addition, his statistical output was better by a fair margin, which doesn’t hold too much value when it comes to evaluating prospects and the competition they faced.