The New York Giants are going to look different than they have all season when they go up against the Dallas Cowboys on Monday Night Football. For the first time this season, they will take the field with their top draft choice. Kayvon Thibodeaux has been cleared for action.
He hasn’t been able to play since the second Giants’ second preseason game when he sprained an MCL after he got cut blocked. His first injury as a professional appears to be behind him, and now on national television, he gets to prove his case for why he should’ve been the first pick in the 2022 draft.
Thibodeaux is the ideal modern-day pass rusher. The 2021 consensus All-American pass rusher checks every box in what any team would want in a player tasked with getting past 300-plus pound men to try and disrupt the central nervous system of a football team — the quarterback.
At the scouting combine, Thibodeaux was measured at 6-foot-4, weighed 254 pounds, and ran a 4.58 40-yard-dash. He was rated the No. 2 overall prospect in America when he came out of high school in 2019 and started for Oregon as a true freshman. He explodes at the snap of the football, and is a natural at attacking an offensive tackle’s outside shoulder.
He fell to the Giants and their No. 5 overall pick for a couple of reasons. He caught the “I don’t know if he’s serious about football” label because he was diligent about setting up his business life off of the field. It’s part of why he went to Oregon. He recently spoke to Maverick Carter on Uninterrupted, and said that his first NIL deal was with Phil Knight and legendary basketball shoe designer Tinker Hatfield.
There is no way Thibodeaux should have slid to the fifth pick, but it is understandable why the Jacksonville Jaguars went with Travon Walker No. 1 overall. He may not be a better football player than Thibodeaux is right now, but he is the more impressive overall athlete at 6-foot-5, 272 pounds, with longer arms and bigger hands. Thibodeaux also ran a 4.51 in the 40-yard dash.
The Dallas Cowboys’ offensive line was able to hold up well enough in Week 2 without Tyron Smith, and they were able to sneak out with a 20-17 victory against the Cincinnati Bengals. This week, not only do the Cowboys have to deal with Thibodeaux, but the Giants also get back their sack leader from last season, Azeez Ojulari. Cooper might get Rushed out of the pocket frequently with those two coming after him all night.
There hasn’t been much for Giants’ fans to be excited about in recent years. Saquon Barkley is frequently injured and Dave Gettleman hampered the offense with his choice at quarterback. He selected Daniel Jones with the sixth overall pick in the 2019 draft.
Currently, the Giants are 2-0 and haven’t given up more than 20 points in either game. They can figure out their quarterback situation later — and their offense should be better anyway once Kadarius Toney returns to the lineup. For now, they’ll have to settle for a defense that’s already playing well, receiving a major boost. Thibodeaux and Ojulari will be making their 2022 season debuts on prime time in front of what is sure to be a raucous home crowd, with the Giants having a chance to start the season 3-0 for the first time since 2009 — they’ve won a Super Bowl since then — and they can achieve this feat by beating one of their hated rivals.
The Giants faithful is geared up for their most highly anticipated game in some years, and Thibodeaux is certainly ready to prove that he was overlooked in the 2022 NFL Draft by far too many teams.