The New York Giants boast a formidable defensive front four, which could reach elite status in 2023.
With Azeez Ojulari making a comeback from injury, Dexter Lawrence signing a long-term extension, Leonard Williams bringing his proven production, and Kayvon Thibodeaux entering his sophomore NFL season, the future looks promising for the Giants’ potent pass rush.
Defensive coordinator Wink Martindale has assembled a team that perfectly aligns with his philosophy of aggression and numerical advantage against opposing offensive lines. However, Martindale views Thibodeaux as having the potential to be among the league’s best, stating that he has “no ceiling.”
“First of all, I love the kid himself,” Martindale said about last year’s fifth overall draft choice on the “Giants Huddle: Front Office Edition” podcast. “I said earlier he has no ceiling, and I believe that because he can do whatever he puts his mind to. We talked about last year after the season was over with, I said, ‘I think you need to get stronger in your legs and your core.’ That was his focus this year in the offseason, and you’re going to see that keep developing. He’s going to get better and better every game that he plays here.”
The Giants are banking on a big jump from Kayvon Thibodeaux in 2023:
Thibodeaux managed just 4.0 sacks but amassed 45 total pressures, including 29 quarterback hurries, during his rookie season.
While recording 45 tackles, he showed efficiency with only a 6.8% missed tackle rate, delivering impactful performances. Thibodeaux consistently rose to the occasion in the fourth quarter, earning him the nickname “the closer.”
As Thibodeaux steps into his second NFL season, he is expected to improve in multiple areas, specifically in increasing his sack numbers and refining his pass-rush moves and timing with the benefit of experience.
Last year, Thibodeaux preserved his energy until the fourth quarter, enabling him to deliver in critical moments.
At 22, this outside linebacker boasts an exceptional football IQ, which Martindale acknowledges. Additionally, he brings a dynamic energy and high aspirations to a locker room already brimming with ambition.
“Unbelievable,” Martindale said. “He’s an old soul guy who has a lot of aspirations and dreams, and he’s going to chase them. And that’s good for the Giants.”
Pairing Thibodeaux and Ojulari could result in one of the league’s most formidable duos if they can maintain their health.