As training camp heads into week two, first impressions are being made by young players across the NFL. As the season quickly approaches, expectations will be sky-high for several of them. But playing in New York, Thibodeaux may be the one under the biggest spotlight.
When the Giants added Thibodeaux with the fifth overall pick, they expected to gain a generational talent.
During his time at the University of Oregon, Thibodeaux was one of the most dynamic pass rushers in college football. He appeared in 30 total games. He produced at a high level, recording 126 total tackles, 35.5 tackles for loss, and 19.0 sacks.
His performance in 2021 was arguably the best of his collegiate career. On his way to being a top-five pick, he recorded 49 total tackles, 12 tackles for loss and 7.0 sacks. While he played in just 10 games, he still finished second in sacks in the Pac-12.
With Thibodeaux expected to be a dominant force on this defense, could he potentially take home defensive rookie of the year? At least one NFL Media analyst believes it’s a real possibility.
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Thibodeaux’s Given 3rd-Best Chances of Becoming DROY
On July 26, Lance Zierlein of NFL.com broke down his list of the top-10 defensive players who could take home rookie of the year.
His first overall spot went to Detroit Lions edge rusher Aidan Hutchinson. The second spot was given to Devin Lloyd of the Jacksonville Jaguars. Coming up next was Thibodeaux at the third spot.
When addressing what could give Thibodeaux the best chance to win the award, Zierlein noted the traits that allowed him to win in college.
“Thibodeaux is strong and explosive with pretty good insight into the art of the pass rush. However, he has to show he can execute as a pass rusher on a consistent basis in the NFL. His ability to close to the sideline should make him tough to run against, but sacks are what win this award,” Zierlein wrote.
Thibodeaux should be a day one starter on this primarily young defense. He will be accompanied by Azeez Ojulari, Leonard Williams, and Dexter Lawrence on this defensive front. In this newly designed Giants defense led by Wink Martindale, Thibodeaux should have all the chances to succeed.
Which Young Giants Defender Has Turned Heads
Outside of Thibodeaux, there has been one other notable Giants player making noise in training camp.
Third-year cornerback Darnay Holmes put on a spectacle during week one of camp. He recorded a turnover each day, compiling both forced fumbles and interceptions.
The Giants have put together one of the younger secondaries in the NFL. The group is headlined by third-year safety Xavier McKinney and veteran cornerback Adoree’ Jackson.
With the departures of James Bradberry, Logan Ryan, and Jabrill Peppers during the off-season, many of these younger players will be put into a much bigger role. Holmes is arguably the one who will be taking the biggest leap.
There is a chance that Holmes becomes the team’s primary nickel corner. With his performance up to this point, he seems capable of finally taking that step into a starting role.