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Giants Now: Osi sees himself in Kayvon Thibodeaux


Osi Umenyiora sees himself in Kayvon Thibodeaux

When the Giants selected Kayvon Thibodeaux with the No. 5 overall pick, it became the first time the franchise drafted an edge rusher in the first round since Jason Pierre-Paul was taken 15th in the 2010 NFL Draft.

Pierre-Paul was a part of one of the franchise's best groups of pass rushers. During the team's epic championship run in 2011, Pierre-Paul joined Justin Tuck, Mathias Kiwanuka and Osi Umenyiora to create a combination of edge rushers that caused nightmares for opposing quarterbacks.

Umenyiora, who picked up 3.5 sacks during those 2011 playoffs, told Paul Schwartz of the New York Post that he sees a lot of himself in Thibodeaux.

"He wouldn't be anything like JPP, he doesn't remind me of Kiwi, doesn't remind me of Tuck, doesn't remind me of [Michael] Strahan, actually," Umenyiora told The Post. "Yeah, you're right, he's more like myself."

Umenyiora played in 129 regular season games with the Giants from 2003 to 2012. The franchise legend recorded 75.0 sacks during that span, good for the sixth-most in Giants history, along with a franchise-high 32 forced fumbles.

The London native helped the Giants take home two Super Bowl titles (XLII, XLVI) and was later inducted into the franchise's Ring of Honor.

The Giants hope that Thibodeaux and 2021 second-round pick Azeez Ojulari can combine to help generate a pass rush similar to that of the Big Blue defense from Umenyiora's playing days.

"I like him as a player for sure," Umenyiora said about Thibodeaux. "Very dynamic football player. He's strong against the run, which for a college pass rusher of his caliber, you don't really see that. Strong, quick first step, good bend around the edge, good pass-rush moves, good speed, good motor.

"The way he plays, the way he rushes the passer I think you would say he has a very similar game and a very similar skill set to what I did, for sure. I like him as a player, I do."

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

CBS Sports lists Evan Neal as Giants' best pick

Kayvon Thibodeaux is not the only Giants' rookie receiving plenty of praise following the 2022 NFL Draft.

After selecting the pass rusher with the fifth overall pick, Big Blue landed one of the best offensive lineman in the draft in the form of Evan Neal with their next selection.

CBS Sports' Chris Trapasso looked at the draft classes for all 32 teams and made his choice for each team's best selection. For the Giants, he went with the No. 7 overall pick.

As Chris Trapasso states, "Taking the layup here. Let me explain. Neal's film was good in 2021. It was even better in 2020 when he played right tackle, which is precisely where he'll be plugged in -- opposite Andrew Thomas -- with the Giants. And with Neal, New York knows it's getting a high-floor blocker. Multiple seasons of productivity in the SEC strongly suggests that. But at 6-7 and a rocked-up 340 pounds, there's tremendous Hall of Fame level upside with their second first-round pick in this draft."

Rookie Kayvon Thibodeaux to wear No. 5

Number five is alive.

Rookie Kayvon Thibodeaux has his first NFL jersey number, and it's the same one the edge rusher wore when he became the first-ever defensive player to earn unanimous All-America status in Oregon program history. The former Duck even has a tattoo of five tally marks for five friends he "was going to become successful with."

The Giants then selected him fifth overall in the 2022 NFL Draft, adding a serendipitous touch to the numeral. The number was previously worn by veteran kicker Graham Gano.

View some of the top photos of Giants fifth overall pick and former Oregon edge rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux.


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