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Giants Now: Kayvon Thibodeaux, Evan Neal receive votes for league's best rookie


Kayvon Thibodeaux, Evan Neal receive votes for league's best rookie

The Giants, along with the rest of the NFL, are gearing up for the start of the regular season, which begins tonight with the matchup between the Buffalo Bills and Los Angeles Rams.

Before the season kicked off, The Athletic conducted an interesting survey to get some insight into the minds of some of the league's prominent decision makers.

As the article states, "Since the start of training camp, The Athletic polled 18 people around the NFL to get their thoughts on the regular season. The panel included eight general managers, three front-office executives, five head coaches and two assistant coaches. They were each asked to make predictions on the same seven topics, although some abstained from certain questions. All voted on the condition of anonymity."

When it came to the question of who will be the league's top rookie this season, 15 votes were tallied, and both Giants first-round picks Kayvon Thibodeaux and Evan Neal received a vote. Five players tied for the lead with two votes.

"The NFL is definitely a more technical. I had to become more of a technician," Neal said earlier this week when asked about his improvement throughout the summer. "I couldn't just rely so much on just my raw athleticism or talent. I had to become more of a technician as well, working on my pass sets, my set angles. I feel like I'm more comfortable in my sets. I'm using my hands more, and I feel like I'm more balanced as well, but obviously I have a lot of work that still needs to be done. I feel like my game is trending in the right direction."

Thibodeaux missed the end of training camp and preseason finale with a knee injury, but the rookie outside linebacker was back on the practice field as a limited participant on Wednesday.

"I've been rehabbing. It's day to day right now," the No. 5 overall pick said Tuesday. "I've just been working, trying to get better to get back in shape and get it going... I've just got to be able to practice. If you don't practice, you don't play. Me just being able to get out there, get some work and do everything that I need to do the time I need to get my job done."

Another question posed to the panel was which team will surprise people in a good way this season, and the Giants picked up a vote.

View photos from practice as the Giants prepare for the season opener against the Titans.

Wink Martindale preps Giants D for Titans' Derrick Henry

Wink didn't blink when he was asked about Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry.

"He's like our modern-day Jim Brown, I think," Giants defensive coordinator Wink Martindale said yesterday. "He's just that much different when he has the ball in his hands, so it's a challenge every time he touches it."

Martindale has coached defense in the NFL since 2004, so his comparison of Henry to arguably the best running back whoever played should not be taken lightly.

"There's a reason why they call Derrick Henry 'The King' because he's on the iron throne, for all you Game of Thrones fans," Martindale said. "They just gave him a raise; I think he's the highest paid running back. And I still don't think they gave him enough."

Neither, apparently, does defensive lineman Leonard Williams.

"One of the best backs of all time," Williams said of Henry. "He's always the guy people circle and try to prepare for, and he still happens to have 100 plus (yard) rushing games all the time."

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