Home Cheap jerseys New York Giants first draft pick Kayvon Thibodeaux says he’s focused on football, ready to ‘squeal’

New York Giants first draft pick Kayvon Thibodeaux says he’s focused on football, ready to ‘squeal’


EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – Kayvon Thibodeaux seems to understand that the pre-draft process is over. As one of the New York Giants’ newest players, he’s no longer focused on where he’ll be drafted or building his brand. It’s about playing football.

The fifth overall pick in this year’s NFL Draft spoke in his introductory press conference about needing to “squeal” and make learning the playbook his priority.

That’s the much-talked-about Oregon product program.

“It all depends on what you do,” Thibodeaux said. “I feel like, one thing with me, I can’t be a guy who blows smoke. I can’t be a guy who has nothing to show for. I can’t be a guy people watch. and don’t make believe. So for me, no matter what I say, I know I have to get to work.

It’s especially relevant for a player who seems to have big aspirations beyond football. Thibodeaux faced public criticism throughout the writing process that questioned his work ethic and desire to be big, with some even suggesting he was too worried about his brand.

It’s something Thibodeaux’s mentor, Giants legend Michael Strahan, brought up during one of their conversations. He stressed that Thibodeaux needs to take care of the football first before worrying about what might come next.

“Just to keep the gist of it, and that’s kind of the point of it all,” Thibodeaux said of the advice Strahan provided. “Football is going to be that avenue. Football is going to be that terminal for whatever you want to do afterwards, as long as you keep the essentials.

“He also brought to light the idea that people thought the same about him. Like, man, you must have planned everything. But for him, he told me that he had to be awesome to really cultivate everything he was doing, the pitch, it sort of fell into place.

Strahan had 141.5 sacks in 15 seasons with the Giants. He made seven Pro Bowls and was a four-time All Pro first-team member. Thibodeaux, 21, still hasn’t played in an NFL game. Getting ready is his main goal.

“It’s so crazy. When they gave me the playbook, it was in iPad form. For me, I’m learning to write better, so for me, the brand went out the window,” said Thibodeaux. “The only thing I can think of now is the playbook. I’m going to dive into it and find out everything I can to go to training camp.”

Chances are, once he gets there, he’ll be pitted against fellow first-round pick Evan Neal. Alabama’s No. 7 overall pick should start at the right tackle for the Giants.

This match will be familiar. Thibodeaux and Neal said they were apparently always pitted against each other at football camps throughout high school.

Now they are together in the New York area.

“I think that’s going to push us tremendously,” Neal said. “I believe iron sharpens iron, so what better place to get better than the New York Giants. So I’m excited to go out there and compete, give my best, man, and hopefully that we will make ourselves better.”

It might look different, other than the fact that they’re now wearing Giants jerseys. Thibodeaux may not be wearing his usual number 5. It belongs to veteran Giants kicker Graham Gano. As former New York security Jabrill Peppers learned last year, No. 5 might not come cheap.

“It’s real now. We’re talking about real numbers,” said Thibodeaux, who expressed a desire to wear number 5 and said it had special meaning for him. “When you say ‘250’ I don’t know what 250 means. You forget all the zeros behind it. It’s very different now. He’s a great guy. Obviously we’re going to build a relationship and we’re going to talk about it .”

Maybe 55 instead?

“It doesn’t sound as good as five but…the number doesn’t make the player,” Thibodeaux said, “the player makes the number.”