Giant stole the NFL Draft from Kayvon Thibodeaux
The New York Giants have yet to find their next Michael Strahan. As sublime as bringing the former All-Americans’ Oregon into a threshold in the stratosphere, in Kayvon Thibodeaux they may have found a better player than the toothed Hall of Famer. And maybe Thibodeaux will end up hosting Good Morning America to achieve good results two decades after his playing days were over.
Have There are no guarantees in the NFL Draft. Last year’s overall No. 1 pick (Trevor Lawrence) fell short of his “best quarterback of a decade” title after a season with Jacksonville. Heck, the giants know a thing or two about the potential draft doesn’t show up. How’s the post-Eli Manning full-back at East Rutherford? Show me a Giants fan who wants to ride with Daniel Jones for the next few years and I’ll show you a bald-faced liar.
Anyway, back to the rationale of this story, Thibodeaux is going to be a huge hit.
We’ve been more than a week out of the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft, and with each passing day, I’m more confident that the first four draft teams, especially the first two in the Jaguars and Lions, will live through. The regret passed to Thibodeaux in place of fellow defenders Travon Walker and Aidan Hutchinson. The three were closely tied for success in college and played in the same position before starting the draft. Whether it’s picking one from the defending national champions or a local match (Hutcinson attends Michigan in Ann Arbor, not too far from Detroit), it’s funny to see those three as the same.
With good health, Thibodeaux’s ability to pass passes is much better than that of Hutchinson and Walker. What if he drew a doubles team? No problem. He wears green most of the time in Eugene and impersonating his Bruce Banner, Hulking through offensive lines to knock out quarterbacks. If the teams have too many players to stop Thibodeaux, someone else will celebrate Oregon. Thibodeaux’s ability is a major reason the Ducks have been one of the few Pac-12 teams to reach the College Soccer Finals in recent years.
And his first step out of script boundaries was quicker than that of the two defensive midfielders drafted in front of him. He’s also physically better, sometimes overpowering 6-foot-6, 300-pound strikes at will, rather than just using dexterity. Hutchinson may have doubled Thibodeaux’s total layoffs from 2021, but that’s a huge leap in a season. Hutchinson failed to maintain that success over time. Thibodeaux is the only one of the three to have.
If Thibodeaux doesn’t sprain his ankle in the first game of the 2021 season against Oregon and sit out the next two competitions, this is not a conversation. Thibodeaux with at least eight quarters of the game against FCS-level Fresno State, Ohio State and Stony Brook will put him in the lead and become the clear leading player in this draft. To me, he is anyway. And seven days after arriving at NFC East, I don’t understand why people in Jacksonville and Detroit don’t see everything the same.
Maybe Thibodeaux needs a big hit that garners millions of hits on social media to get him to the top? One like Jadeveon Clowney had for South Carolina in the Outback Bowl. The “Hit is heard all over the world” where a running Wolverine helmet flies away from the fury. Clowney was the No. 1 overall pick a year later and Walker was only the second defensive midfielder to be brought in first after Myles Garrett in 2017.
When comparing Walker, Thibodeaux and Hutchinson, the stats only go so far. Five Georgia defensive players entered the first round and 10 were selected overall. How do we know how any of them will perform to the next level without the influence of the others? It was one of the shortcomings in full protection that prompted the SEC to continue its professional efforts. Hutchinson also had a Wolverine defender selected in the first round. Thibodeaux is not.
Thibodeaux has been open about leaving his legacy more than at the net. He plans to open a charter school later this year and start using his own cryptocurrency. He said in interviews before the draft was a desire to be a role model in whatever community he was in and no market larger than New York City. That raises doubts about whether Thibodeaux will focus entirely on football.
Are those questions for LeBron James, who won the championship with the Lakers after starting More than an athlete Drama in 2019 or when he opened a school in his hometown Akron? No. Thibodeaux should be welcomed, not demoted.
The Texans and Jets went to address greater needs and let the Ducks fall into the Giant’s lap. And he will be a monster in the easiest division to win in football. New York can still finish fourth in the NFC East this season. How will they score? Great question. How will the giants prevent running teams from increasing their points? It is a difficult task. Thibodeaux is a tangible person to point to as a difference-maker. Those prospects don’t come every day. Cheer for the 2022 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year.