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10 things to know about Kayvon Thibodeaux, Evan Neal

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The first round of the 2022 NFL Daft was historic for many reasons.

For starters, it was the first time the Giants held two picks in the top seven in the 87-year history of the annual player selection meeting. On top of that, they were one of nine teams with multiple first-round picks, which broke the previous record of six (four times, most recently in 2020).

The nine offensive linemen taken in Round 1 were also tied for the second-most in the common draft era, trailing the 10 that were selected in 1968. The Giants contributed to that ledger by taking Alabama offensive tackle Evan Neal seventh overall, two picks after they selected Oregon edge defender Kayvon Thibodeaux.

They will be the foundational pieces in a new era of Giants football under general manager Joe Schoen and coach Brain Daboll. Here are 10 things to know about the new player duo:

1. Thibodeaux, 6-5 and 258 pounds, was the highest-rated signee in Oregon history. The USA Today High School Defensive Player of the Year was the No. 1 recruit in the 2019 class coming out of Los Angeles' Oaks Christian High School. He went on to finish tied for seventh in Ducks history with 19.0 career sacks in 31 games (second in Pac-12 from 2019-21)

2. Neal, 6-7 and 350 pounds, is the fifth offensive tackle over the last 15 draft classes with plus-90-90-80 Next Gen Stats overall, production, and athleticism scores.

3. Thibodeaux was the first Oregon defensive lineman to earn All-America honors since DeForest Buckner in 2015. Bucker was drafted seventh overall in 2015 and has been named to the Pro Bowl twice in addition to first-team All-Pro.

4. The Giants plan to slot Neal in at right tackle, playing opposite left tackle Andrew Thomas, the fourth overall pick in the 2020 draft. Neal missed only one game in his Alabama career due to COVID protocols.

5. Thibodeaux lived up to his recruiting hype and set the Oregon freshman record with a team-high 9.0 sacks in 2019 (most by a Pac-12 freshman since Nick Perry of USC in 2009). Coaches voted him the Pac-12 Freshman Defensive Player of the Year as he also set a Pac-12 Championship Game record with 2.5 sacks in the win over Utah.

View photos of the Giants' draft picks as they tour their new home.

6. Neal started 40 games at three positions along the Alabama offensive line – 13 at left guard in 2019, 12 at right tackle in 2020 and 15 at left tackle in 2021.

7. Thibodeaux produced when it mattered the most and led the nation with seven sacks in the fourth quarter in 2019. His 34.5 career tackles for loss were fifth-most among active Power 5 players since the start of 2019.

8. Neal won a national championship with Alabama in 2020, anchoring the right side of an offensive line that blocked for the Power 5's No. 1 scoring offense (48.5 ppg), No. 1 pass efficiency offense (198.9), No. 2 passing offense (358.2 ypg), No. 2 total offense (541.6 ypg) and No. 23 rushing attack (183.5 ypg). The Tide scored 37 rushing touchdowns in 13 games to lead the nation that season.

9. Hall of Famer Michael Strahan advised Thibodeaux, who is also known for his larger-than-life personality, leading up the draft and looks to continue the mentorship. "He literally is one of my mentors, and he's been talking to me throughout this process," said Thibodeaux shortly after the Giants drafted him fifth overall on Thursday night. "He actually came to visit me when I was on my [prospect] visit with the team, so seeing him out there, that was really dope because he's given me wisdom and he even was able to speak on my behalf because we have built a relationship over the year."

10. Neal's father, Eddie, played linebacker at Tulane. His two uncles played at the University of Miami and in the NFL: running back Cleveland Gary (drafted in first round by Rams in 1989) and two-time Super Bowl champion Jimmie Jones, a defensive tackle drafted in the third round by the Cowboys in 1990.

See which draft prospects remain on NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah's top 150 list.

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