Giants News: Chris Mara demoted, Thibodeaux will ‘bring some joy to Giants fans’

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The New York Giants are shaking things up significantly in the front office. After allowing Dave Gettleman to retire and Joe Judge being relieved of his duties, ownership made tremendous changes to spark a resurgence.

Bringing over Joe Schoen and Brian Daboll from the Buffalo Bills was a great start, but alleviating personal decision concerns seemed to be a priority as well. In fact, the Giants changed Chris Mara’s title from “senior vice president of player personnel” to “senior personnel consultant.”

This indicates he won’t have much of a say when it comes to personnel decisions, leaving the big ideas to Schoen and Co.

Chris is a partial owner of the Giants along with his family members. John Mara’s nephew, Tim McDonnell, has now been elevated to the top of the player personnel category. NFL teams are normally scattered with nepotism, but the Giants have been a more extreme case in recent years, which has impacted their decision-making.

Michael Strahan is all in on Kayvon Thibodeaux:

Former Giants great Michael Strahan has taken a hands-on approach in helping Kayvon Thibodeaux reach his potential. At the collegiate level, Thibodeaux was always a charismatic player with elite potential, displaying flashes of greatness throughout his career.

Now, Thibodeau is looking to make an impact at the NFL level with New York. Thibodaux is capable of changing a game at any given moment with his phenomenal pass rush moves and tangible trades. However, he’s also a leader and brings contagious energy to the football field and locker room.

“I believe we got a good pick who’s going to bring some joy to Giants fans for some years to come,” Strahan told former Tiki Barber on WFAN Sports Radio’s Tiki & Tierney. “I just hope he’ll allow me to help him as much as I can if there’s anything he needs.”

Strahan has put in a great deal of effort to help transition Thibodeaux from the collegiete level to the big leagues. Sometimes, players can get lost in the eye of the storm. Thibodaux has done a great job weaving his way through the bright lights.

“He understands that in order for all those other things to happen, as you and I did, then you gotta be a great football players, because that’s your primary business,” Strahan told Barber. “Never mess up your primary business expecting for a secondary business to take off. Because at his age, there’s no business that’s going to be as good for him as football is going to be good for him. And he gets that, he understands it and I think the kid’s gonna be a great player.”

New York Giants rookie Kayvon Thibodeaux ‘fully healthy’ for training camp

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The New York Giants had rookie outside linebacker Kayvon Thibodeaux sporting a red jersey during involuntary and voluntary workouts several weeks ago. Thibodeaux picked up a minor hip injury during one of the earlier practices, brewing concern that he might miss some of training camp.

However, head coach Brian Daboll doesn’t have to worry about Thibodeaux’s current health status, as he announced he will be fully prepared and ready to participate at the end of July.

The Giants will have their top draft pick for training camp:

“I’m fully healthy, I’m doing fine,” Thibodeaux said, via NFL Network. “I’m back training and I’ll be ready to go for training camp.”

Thibodeaux has begun the development process required from every rookie to adjust to the NFL level. With increased athleticism and physicality in the trenches, Thibodeaux has a lot to learn, but he’s been soaking in every ounce of information to give himself a competitive edge.

“It’s been great learning from the guys,” Thibodeaux said. “One person can’t do every move, so it’s been understanding what I can do and what’s good for me and my game. Then it’s fine-tuning everything I have. … The biggest challenge (heading into my rookie season) is understanding I can’t control everything. I can only control what I can control. Even though I want to do as much as I can, I can only do the task at hand, my job.”

The Giants spent the 5th overall on Thibodeaux to serve as their outside linebacker opposite Azeez Ojulari. The Oregon stand-out pass rusher has impeccable tangible traits, ranking above average in height and arm length, and recording a 4.58 40-yard dash at the NFL combine, good for the 92nd percentile.

Featuring elite explosiveness and bend around the edge, the Giants have a potential star in the making, but maintaining his health will be the number one priority this upcoming season.

New York Giants: Kayvon Thibodeaux’s injury revealed, not considered serious

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New York Giants’ 5th overall pick in the 2022 NFL draft, Kayvon Thibodeaux, wore a red jersey for the majority of voluntary and mandatory mini-camp this spring. Thibodeaux suffered an injury during practice, which has been revealed to be a “tweaked hip,” according to Dan Duggan of The Athletic.

The injury isn’t expected to be anything too serious, which suggests he could make a full return for training camp which is set to begin on July 27.

General manager Joe Schoen and head coach Brian Daboll have taken a more conservative approach toward injuries, trying to mitigate any aggravation.

“Look, there’s a time to be smart and there’s a time to make sure you’re pushing through things the best you can. You have to balance those,” Daboll said. “What is it, June what? June 8th. So guys that we’ve got to take a little bit off them on June 8th so they’re ready to go fully on July 26th, I think that’s being smart.

The Giants have had a lengthy injury list during camp, including Thibodeaux, Aaron Robinson, and several starters on both sides of the football. Receivers Kenny Golladay and Kadarius Toney mainly worked on individual drills wearing red jerseys. The Giants were keen to keep them safe ahead of training camp and preseason.

The New York Giants are excited about Thibodeaux’s impact:

Nonetheless, Thibodeaux is expected to make a significant impact during his rookie season as one of the top pass rushers in the most recent draft class. Thibodeaux displays a charismatic personality with incredible tangible traits, standing at 6’4″ and 256 pounds.

Last season, he generated 9.0 sacks and 10 tackles for loss over 560 snaps with Oregon. Featuring a wide variety of pass rush moves, Thibodeaux is also a stout run defender, which will immediately provide value at the NFL level.

Of course, he has plenty to work on during his rookie season, but if properly developed, Thibodeaux could be a staple on the Giants’ defensive line for years to come.

New York Giants OTAs: Main Takeaways | Thibodeaux out with injury, Wan’Dale shines

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The New York Giants hosted day six of OTA’s on Thursday, which included the first opportunity to hear defensive coordinator Wink Martindale speak to the media. The team has three voluntary practices left until their mandatory camp. After those six practices, they are off until late July, when training camp begins, so there’s a ton of information packed into these sessions.

Main takeaways from OTA’s for the New York Giants:

1.) Wan’Dale Robinson with a huge catch

Giants quarterback Daniel Jones and rookie receiver Wan’Dale Robinson have already begun developing strong chemistry. Jones has looked Robinson’s way on multiple occasions to find a security blanket but also target him on more aggressive throws downfield.

Wan’Dale ranked 6th in all of college football last year with 16 deep catches and 12th with 553 deep yards. Despite his small frame at 5’8″, he is a feisty receiver with great hands.

On Thursday, Jones launched a pass downfield with Aaron Robinson in coverage, the Giants expected CB2. Wan’Dale used his body to frame out Robinson, hauling in a great reception, which went viral on social media.

There isn’t supposed to be this much contact in OTA’s, so Robinson likely stumbled trying to make a play or simply got caught up in the process. Nonetheless, Robinson’s coverage was solid, but Wan’Dale’s catch was simply better.

2.) Kayvon Thibodeaux out with injury

Fifth overall pick Kayvon Thibodeaux has sat out the past two days with a red jersey on. He was rolled up on after a play during last week’s practice. Head coach Brian Daboll indicated it wasn’t anything too serious, but they were taking necessary precautions to make sure he’s 100% healthy for July.

Thibodeaux has drawn glowing reviews since joining the Giants just a few weeks ago.

“If Wink were to create an outside linebacker in a lab, it would be Kayvon Thibodeaux,’’ Giants outside linebackers coach Drew Wilkins said Thursday, per the NY Post. “He has all the skill sets you look for. He can be a dominant edge-setter, an explosive, violent, relentless pass rusher and everything else you see that is required of the package. All those things combined, it’s such a good fit for us and he has just taken it and run with it.”

Thibodeaux was Wink and Wilkins’ top option on the draft board, so the Giants managed to walk away with arguably the best defender in the class.

“He was Drew’s No. 1 guy and he was my No. 1 guy coming out of the process,’’ Martindale said. “I’ve loved him since Day 1.’’

3.) Defensive scheme shift

One thing that Wink Martindale brings to the Giants is aggressive football. The former Baltimore Ravens DC loves to blitz and play man coverage, which forces opposing quarterbacks to get rid of the ball faster. That strategy implies that the coverage doesn’t have to hold up as long. That implies the secondary doesn’t have to take a bend-don’t-break approach, which is utilized when the pass-rush is weak.

“The other side of that is, the ball has got to come out quicker now, so hopefully we don’t have to cover quite as long,” DB coach Jerome Henderson said. “And if we can be disruptive early, hopefully we can help the defense play at a very high level.”

Not having to cover as long can hide deficiencies in the secondary, especially with inexperienced players like Aaron Robinson. There’s a lot of youth spread around the defensive backfield, so this blitz-heavy approach should allow them to hide weaknesses with an above-average pass rush. That is why acquiring Thibodaux in the draft was such a big deal.

New York Giants Day 2 OTAs: Main Takeaways

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The New York Giants hosted their second day of OTA’s on Tuesday, featuring rookies and veterans alike. Thus far, second-round receiver Wan’Dale Robinson and a few undrafted free agents have stood out the most.

Via the Giants website:

*Wide receiver Wan’Dale Robinson has displayed a quick twitch during OTAs. The rookie is already a frequent target of Daniel Jones. The two connected on several passes during 11-on-11 drills, including a sideline grab for a sizeable gain. Robinson is extremely quick in getting to the outside with his cuts and will be a tough matchup for defenders.

It is a great sign that Robinson and quarterback Daniel Jones have already begun developing chemistry this off-season. Robinson offers Jones a security blanket in the short portions of the field, especially given his success in the screen game.

With Kentucky last season, Robinson ranked 3rd in screen catches with 35 and 4th in screen yards with 268. He also caught 16 deep catches, ranking 6th in the league. With that array of qualities, Jones can target him in various portions of the field, which is likely how Brian Daboll and Mike Kafka visualize him being used.

The Giants are seeing what Kayvon Thibodeaux is capable of:

Fellow draft pick Kayvon Thibodeau also stepped up big in a scrimmage scenario, tipping a pass that landed in the hands of Xavier McKinney, who took it the other way. Seeing the Giants’ top draft picks making plays during OTAs is definitely a good sign, but it means nothing until they translate to an actual game.

*Speaking of pass breakups, Kayvon Thibodeaux made a nice play to tip a pass at the line of scrimmage, and the ball landed in the hands of Xavier McKinney, who returned it the other way.

So far, it seems as if the Giants have gotten off to a good start, especially given their successful health reports.

Giants’ Kayvon Thibodeaux and Graham Gano come together to exchange No. 5 for a great cause

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When the New York Giants drafted Kayvon Thibodeaux with the 5th overall selection, that wasn’t the only No. 5 he was going to steal. Thibodeaux had his eyes set on acquiring the No. 5 jersey, which kicker Graham Gano previously owned before they struck a deal to exchange the number.

Gano transitioned to No. 5 from No. 6 after his first year with the New York Giants, spending multiple seasons with the Carolina Panthers as the No. 9. He enjoyed his lone Pro Bowl season wearing that number, so he’s preparing to transition back and grab some of that good luck.

“When he said he was willing to give to that, I can be No. 9 and maybe in 10-15 years when he retires and I’m still kicking, I can get No. 5 back,” joked the 35-year-old Gano, who also wore No. 9 during his Pro Bowl run in Carolina, per Giants.com. “The opportunity to give to something is exciting, and the number is obviously very special to Kayvon. While it is special to me as well, there’s a whole lot of meaning in that No. 5 to him. I just wanted to be a good teammate and also be able to support others throughout the whole process.”

In exchange for 5, Thibodeau offered $50K to Gano, who chose a great charity to donate the money to, spreading positivity instead of taking it for himself.

“I feel like it was where the money that Kayvon was donating would be able to make the largest impact and help the most people throughout him giving that money,” Gano said. “The whole idea behind the number five being special to myself and being special to Kayvon was being able to help five people get the five dogs and be able to make an impact in five people’s lives for the better. That was the whole goal behind that. I’m really excited about it.”

The money will go to Puppies Behind Bars, a program that trains incarcerated individuals to raise service dogs for wounded war veterans and first responders. This is a great opportunity to give back to a community of incarcerated individuals that aren’t given an opportunity to redeem themselves. This program offers them a second chance at giving back and learning what it means to contribute to society rather than take from it.

The Giants have a fierce, long-term pass-rushing duo forming

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The New York Giants entered the 2022 NFL Draft with a major weakness on defense. The Giants needed to add another edge rusher to their lineup. New York struck gold with the fifth overall pick in the draft, drafting Kayvon Thibodeaux out of Oregon. Kayvon was once looked at as the top prospect in this year’s class, and many believe he has the potential to be a perennial All-Pro. The Giants are pairing him alongside Azeez Ojulari, the team’s second-round pick in last year’s draft. These two will combine to form a fierce pass-rushing duo on the Giants’ defense for a long time.

Kayvon Thibodeaux and Azeez Ojulari: The Giants’ potentially elite pass-rushing duo

There were rumors that the New York Giants would draft Georgia edge rusher Azeez Ojulari with the eleventh overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Instead, they traded down, then traded down again, then stole Ojulari with the fiftieth overall pick. Azeez posted 8 sacks, 49 combined tackles, and 8 tackles for loss in his rookie season. Ojulari established himself as one of the best young edge rushers in the league, and now, the Giants just added a premiere rookie at the same position to play alongside him.

Azeez Ojulari has great potential to be a top-tier edge rusher. Yet, the Giants’ other edge rusher has even greater potential. Kayvon Thibodeaux’s potential is elite. Some believe he had the highest ceiling of any prospect in this year’s draft class. Kayvon models his game off of All-Pro Von Miller and mirrors his playing style closely at times. Kayvon has an elite first step and all the athletic tools necessary to turn himself into a premier pass-rusher.

Kayvon Thibodeaux is a 6-foot-4, 254-pound athletic freak of nature. The 2021 1st-Team AP All-American produced 19 sacks and 35.5 tackles for loss in 32 games across his collegiate career. He has been described as a “perfect fit” for Wink Martindale’s 3-4 blitz-heavy defense. Kayvon has room to grow, but he was a star for Oregon from the moment he stepped on the field as a freshman. The New York Giants have secured themselves a potential star in Kayvon Thibodeaux.

The Giants are financially flexible at edge rusher

Edge rusher is one of the most expensive positions in the NFL. Signing a premium pass-rusher will run teams upwards of $20 million. The Giants, currently in a cap pinch, could never afford to improve that position through free agency. However, the exciting part of the Giants’ defensive construction is their rookie contracts. Azeez Ojulari and Kayvon Thibodeaux both have the potential to be excellent players on cost-efficient rookie contracts.

Azeez Ojulari is playing on a rookie contract with an average salary of $1.6M. His cap hit will exceed $2M only in the final year of his deal in 2024. Kayvon Thibodeaux has yet to sign his rookie deal, though it will not break the Giants’ bank when he signs. The 2021 fifth-overall pick (Bengals wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase) signed a contract worth about $7.7M on average annually. Chase’s contract is well below his worth as one of the NFL’s top receivers.

Kayvon Thibodeaux’s four-year contract, with a fifth-year club option, is projected to be worth $36,206,254 with a $23,511,820 signing bonus per OverTheCap. As with Ja’Marr Chase, this will put Thibodeaux on an incredibly affordable salary ranging from $7-9 million. If Kayvon develops into one of the NFL’s best edge rushers, this will be viewed as one of the biggest bargain contracts in the league. Having top-tier players on rookie contracts at expensive positions gives the Giants a great amount of funds to invest elsewhere.

Kayvon Thibodeaux earns glowing review from Giants pass-rush legend

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When the New York Giants drafted Kayvon Thibodeaux 5th overall, they knew they would be getting a charismatic and potentially elite pass-rusher on defense.

Thibodeaux is coming off a campaign where he posted 7.0 sacks, 12 tackles for loss, and 49 total tackles. While his numbers don’t necessarily jump off the page, opposing offenses allocated plenty of attention to him, trying to limit his impact.

Thibodeaux brings as quick a first step as you can have off the line of scrimmage to the NFL, reminiscent of one Giants great, who compared himself to Thibodeaux as a young player.

“He wouldn’t be anything like JPP, he doesn’t remind me of Kiwi, doesn’t remind me of Tuck, doesn’t remind me of Strahan, actually,’’ Umenyiora told The Post. “Yeah, you’re right, he’s more like myself.’’

Since his freshman season with Oregon, Thibodeaux has been in the spotlight when he posted 10 sacks. As a tangibly elite player who features plus bend, explosiveness, and speed, he has all of the traits necessary to become a phenomenal player at the next level.

“I like him as a player for sure,’’ Umenyiora said. “Very dynamic football player. He’s strong against the run, which for a college pass rusher of his caliber, you don’t really see that. Strong, quick first step, good bend around the edge, good pass-rush moves, good speed, good motor.

On Day 1, the Giants can depend on Thibs to be a strong presence in the run game, which is essential in Wink Martindale’s aggressive man-coverage scheme.

The Giants didn’t draft Thibodeaux to be a pure run defender, though, they spent the 5th overall pick on him to get after the quarterback and force premature decisions.

“The way he plays, the way he rushes the passer I think you would say he has a very similar game and a very similar skill set to what I did, for sure. I like him as a player, I do.’’

Umenyiora is known for his quick first step and speed to power transition, very similar to Thibodeaux, who ranked above average in the 40-yard dash with a 4.58 and benched 27 reps, landing in the 85th percentile of edge rushers.

With that type of power and speed, Thibodeaux cannot only bench-press tackles off of him but use his incredible bend around the edge. With the right development, there’s no question that Kayvon can become a premium player, but it is also fair to temper our expectations during his rookie season.

Giants’ new star pass rusher Kayvon Thubodeaux opens up about what he’s bringing to New York

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New York Giants 5th overall pick Kayvon Thibodeaux has been in the spotlight since his high school days. After dominating at the collegiate level during his freshman season back in 2019, Thibodeaux failed to take significant steps forward but still featured as one of the best pass rushers in the entire 2022 draft class.

At 6’4″ and 256 pounds, the outside linebacker will fit Wink Martindale’s system to perfection, offering strength and speed off the edge. With a phenomenal first step, opposing offensive linemen are always at a disadvantage, especially in 1v1 situations. Heavy-footed tackles will have a tough time securing the edge with his speed, but he easily transitions to power. Give Kayvon an NFL diet and workout plan, and we may see him blossom into an even more dominant athlete.

Thibodeaux spoke to Steve Serby of the New York Post, noting his style of play and how important the fourth quarter is.

Relentless … poise … strategic.

I just want them to know that I’m gonna play until the last … until the lady sings. I’m gonna play until the game’s over. And when the fourth quarter comes, and the game’s on the line, I’m gonna leave it all out there.

Good pash rushers set up moves for later on in the game, specifically in the fourth quarter when it’s crunch time. Disappearing when it matters most is what separates good from great. Thibodeaux is confident he will help the Giants win games with his relentless effort and skillset.

That speaks more to the fourth quarter. Because the game is about longevity, you gotta do certain moves and do certain things to set up other things for later in the game. … Trying to be a master of situations. … Fourth quarter is where in college I use to really put the moves together.

Last season, Kayvon produced 7.0 sacks, 49 tackles, and 12 tackles for a loss for Oregon. Most of his negative traits are simply technique and vision-based, all coachable issues at the next level.

The Giants hired former Minnesota Vikings defensive line coach Andre Patterson, who is considered one of the best in the NFL. He is directly responsible for the development of Everson Griffen and Danielle Hunter, meaning he has a great sample size of coaching great players, which should directly impact Thibodeaux and Azeez Ojulari.

The Giants now have a solid young duo of pass rushers on rookie contracts, opening up finances for other positions. Joe Schoen has about $80 million at his disposal next season after declining the 5th year option of Daniel Jones. With two offensive tackles and pass rushers “cost-controlled,” Schoen can start to get creative with the building of the roster.

Giants land perfect draft pair in 1st round with Kayvon Thibodeaux and Evan Neal selections

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As the 2022 NFL draft unfolded, the New York Giants weren’t exactly sure what players would be available with the 5th overall selection. However, after the New York Jets selected Sauce Garden out of Cincinnati to fill a role in the secondary, meaning the Giants had their pick of all three offensive tackles and Oregon stand-out pass rusher, Kayvon Thibodeaux.

General manager Joe Schoen had a big decision to make, stay put and take his offensive tackle of choice or snag Thibodeaux and prevent the Carolina Panthers from stealing him prior to the 7th overall selection.

Schoen made the obvious decision, landing Thibodeau and settling for whichever tackle fell to him two picks later. Last season, Kayvon produced 7.0 sacks, 12 tackles for loss, and 49 total tackles, presenting impeccable tangible traits and leadership capabilities. With an outstanding charismatic personality, Thibodeaux fits the New York media to perfection, and the Giants executed diligent research on him to make sure he could handle the load.

Clearly, they thought highly enough of him, selecting 5th overall and injecting him into a young defense that features Azeez Ojulari on the opposite side. Having two cost-controlled pass rushers is the perfect way to rebuild a team, and the Giants can now move forward with confidence knowing their defensive line is set.

However, they didn’t forget about Daniel Jones and protecting him at the line of scrimmage. The Giants went ahead and snagged Evan Neal at No. 7, solidifying right tackle for the foreseeable future. The Giants now have two rookie contracts in Andrew Thomas and Neal at offensive tackle, which is a fantastic situation to build around.

Last season, Neal enjoyed 1073 snaps, including 650 pass-blocking. Evan is already a dominant run blocker coming from an NFL-ready program in Alabama, making him a perfect fit and transition player.

The first round couldn’t have unfolded better for Big Blue, and social media reacted accordingly.