The New York Giants have a long history of successful pass rushers. Lawrence Taylor, Michael Strahan, Jason Pierre-Paul, Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora are only some on a very long list. Despite their rich history of strong pass rushers, the Giants have been lacking a star edge rusher for quite some time. That all may be changing during the upcoming NFL Draft. Both Mel Kiper and Todd McShay have the Giants landing star pash rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux out of Oregon at number five. Thibodeaux would transform this Giants defensive line. He would step in on day 1 and be the best pass rusher they have had since the Tuck and JPP days. We could be looking at a truly transcendent talent for the Giants, so let’s breakdown Kayvon Thibodeaux a little more.
Next to Michigan’s Aidan Hutchinson, Kayvon Thibodeaux is the clear best pass rusher in this draft class. Thibodeaux has a wicked first step off the line of scrimmage. He possesses the raw speed and strength needed to succeed at the position. He demonstrated both of those skills when he ripped off 27 reps on the bench and ran a 4.58 40 at the combine. In addition, he uses these skills to have a strong nose for the quarterback. He always seems to know exactly where the quarterback is and can alter his path effectively to get there. Thibodeaux possesses the necessary hand speed and power to get on top of his blockers.
Thibodeaux was a 5-star prospect out of high school and his scouting report was pretty close to what it is now; elite speed with bull-rush ability, but still has many areas to continue developing.
Areas to Develop
It is clear that Kayvon Thibodeaux possesses the traits needed to succeed at the NFL level. However, he still has lots of room for improvement. Many scouts see Thibodeaux as a very raw prospect who still has the fine technicalities to learn to be an elite edge rusher. Like I said earlier, he has the ability to beat his blocker with his elite first step. However, if he is unable to get that edge quickly, he needs to learn some counter attacks to tackles that can stay with him.
Samuel Gold on YouTube has an excellent breakdown of Thibodeaux’s strengths and weaknesses. Some key areas that he mentions that Thibodeaux needs to work on is connecting his hands and feet, so they are more in synch during the rush. That goes hand in hand with his next point where he says that Thibodeaux needs to have a clear plan before the snap. That is very similar to NFL.com’s scouting report on him where they say he lacks awareness and play recognition. Thibodeaux has the skills to succeed at the next level. However, he does need that coaching and development to become a top-tier elite edge rusher in the NFL.
Despite Thibodeaux’s areas of improvement, he would still step in as a day-1 starter and be the best pass-rusher the Giants have had in quite sometime. He and Azeez Ojulari would form a solid foundation for the next great Giants front 7. The Giants have been lacking a star rusher for close to a decade and Thibodeaux has the potential to be that guy. Even though he may not be as refined, Thibodeaux possesses a very similar upside as Jadaveon Clowney did when he was drafted first overall. If he falls to number five, I feel like it is a no-brainer for Big Blue. Thibodeaux has the ability to be an elite edge rusher, and you cannot pass up that kind of talent, especially when it is a position of need.
-Pete Chatterton (@Pchat12)
Featured image courtesy of the New York Post.
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