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Giants Now: Thibodeaux 'perfect fit' for Giants


Bucky Brooks calls Kayvon Thibodeaux a "perfect fit" for Giants defense

Over the last few days, experts from many media outlets have been praising Joe Schoen and the Giants for their 11-man draft class.

While the team has been garnering high marks from draft analysts for the entire draft class, many experts have been focusing on individual draft picks and how they fit with their new team.

The latest to do so is NFL Network's Bucky Brooks, who put together a list of what he believes are the 10 perfect fits from the 2022 NFL Draft.

The first name on Brooks' list is new Giants edge rusher and No. 5 overall pick Kayvon Thibodeaux, who was the team's first pass rusher selected in the first round since Jason Pierre-Paul was taken with the 15th overall pick back in 2010.

Thibodeaux registered 19.0 sacks in 31 career games at Oregon to go with 34.5 total tackles for loss, the fifth-most among Power 5 players since 2019. He earned a 91.5 pass rush grade from Pro Football Focus in 2021 after recording seven sacks, 28 hurries and 48 total quarterback pressures in 11 games.

As Brooks writes, "This marriage could be a match made in heaven. Setting aside the pre-draft narratives -- what he called "misinformation" -- surrounding the Oregon standout's focus, the 6-foot-4, 254-pounder is a five-star pass rusher with a blockbuster game that could explode coordinator Don "Wink" Martindale's defensive scheme. Thibodeaux's exceptional first-step quickness and burst complement a dazzling array of pass-rush maneuvers and counters that will make him hard to handle on the edges. Moreover, Martindale's experience with big personalities (like Terrell Suggs, Marcus Peters and Matthew Judon in Baltimore, among others) could help him find the right words to inspire Thibodeaux to play at a breakneck pace for 60 minutes. If that happens, the Giants' defense could be a nightmare to deal with in 2022 and beyond."

ESPN's Jordan Reid high on Giants' two first-round picks

Bucky Brooks isn't the only analyst lauding the Giants' 2022 draft.

ESPN's Jordan Reid and Matt Miller answered questions in 20 different categories regarding the draft. Reid had high praise for each of the Giants' first-round picks, starting with Kayvon Thibodeaux.

Thibodeaux is Reid's pick to win Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2022.

As Reid states, "I'm a big believer in Kayvon Thibodeaux (No. 5) and his abilities as a pass-rusher. From day one, he should be a key contributor for a Giants defense that lacks true pass-rush options. With Dexter Lawrence eating up double-teams, along with Leonard Williams getting a bulk of the attention, Thibodeaux has a chance to thrive."

The ESPN analyst also had nothing but good things to say about No. 7 overall pick Evan Neal.

One category the two experts touched on was "Which prospect is a guaranteed future NFL star?"

For Reid, the choice was the Giants' new right tackle.

"Fortifying the trenches was atop the to-do list for the Giants, and they did just that with edge rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux at No. 5," writes the ESPN analyst. "Still, I see their second top-10 pick -- offensive tackle Evan Neal (No. 7) -- as the prospect with the best chance to turn into a bona fide star.

"Neal played all over the line at Alabama, ranging from right guard to right tackle to left tackle. We expect him to return to right tackle with the Giants, as some scouts felt that his tape was better there than on the left side. Paired opposite of Andrew Thomas, new general manager Joe Schoen now has a promising pair of bookends."

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

PFF says TE Daniel Bellinger landed in ideal situation

A lot of the praise around the Giants' draft haul has revolved around Kayvon Thibodeaux and Evan Neal.

However, the 11-person draft class has also gotten some recognition for picks beyond the first round.

Michael Renner, Pro Football Focus' lead draft analyst, took a look at the 2022 draft prospects at every position to see which ones went to ideal situations. As it states in the introduction, "Whether it's via scheme, coaching or path to the football field, some destinations are built to fully maximize the skill sets of draft picks better than others."

For the tight end position, Renner chose Giants' fourth-round pick Daniel Bellinger as the prospect who landed in the best situation heading into the 2022 season.

"Brian Daboll literally just took a mid-round athletic tight end with minimal collegiate production and turned him into a prolific pass-catcher for the Buffalo Bills," writes Renner. "There's a good chance Daboll can work the same magic with Bellinger as he did with Dawson Knox, although Bellinger saw only 101 targets in his three seasons as a starter for San Diego State."

Bellinger played in 11 games for San Diego State this past year, finishing with 31 receptions for 357 yards and two touchdowns. The receptions and yards both set new career-highs for the tight end, who saw his usage increase each year with the Aztecs.

Of his 43 targets in 2021, Bellinger did not drop a single pass. In fact, the 6-foot-5 tight end had a mere 4.2 percent drop rate throughout his entire time at San Diego State, the best mark at the tight end position in the draft.

As it states in the analytics site's 2022 NFL Draft Guide:

"Bellinger has been starting ever since his sophomore season for the Aztecs. He's steadily been featured more and more in the San Diego State offense every single year but never quite as a downfield weapon. Of his 31 receptions this past season, only four came 10-plus yards down the field. It really is a shame we didn't get to see more of him in such a role, as he has the physical tools to win there at the next level."

View photos from the college careers of the Giants' entire 11-player draft class