The New York Giants flipped the football world on its head in the NFL draft with the surprise drafting of Oregon star defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux with the fifth overall pick.
Not many had the Giants taking the talented and brash defensive end, who some have questioned his passion for football. Clearly the Giants didn’t agree with that sentiment. As ESPN reported after the pick was made, Giants General Manager Joe Schoen traveled to Eugene, Oregon to watch Thibodeaux work out, and the Giants held a Zoom meeting with him this week. They love the kid.
Kayvon Thibodeaux tells the story of how he met Saquon Barkley and Daniel Jones while visiting the Giants' facility 😂😂 pic.twitter.com/1qSa6UFDsU— Giants Videos (@SNYGiants) April 29, 2022
Kayvon Thibodeaux said no team spent more time with him during the pre-draft process than the Giants.— Art Stapleton (@art_stapleton) April 29, 2022
He’s explosive off the edge — ranking third in college football in QB pressures — something the Giants haven’t had since they had the likes of Osi Umenyiora, Michael Strahan and Justin Tuck ruling at the Meadowlands.
Thibodeaux told anyone who would listen that he wanted to play in New York, even telling SNY early Thursday that he considers New York a “second home.” Now those wishes come to fruition. He is a tremendous pick up for the Giants, and it probably deflated the balloons of some Jets fans who were hoping he would drop to 10.
What made the drafting of Thiodeaux even better for Big Blue was the fact they were still able to draft the guy everyone pegged to them all along: offensive lineman Evan Neal. Neal, who is listed at 6-foot-7, 337 lbs, is a right tackle and will fit in nicely opposite Andrew Thomas.
The Giants now have two huge bookends surrounding Daniel Jones, who is in a “make it or break it” season. The Giants declined to pick up Jones’ fifth year option on Thursday — not totally surprising considering the new regime of Schoen and Head Coach Brian Dabol will eventually want to get their own quarterback at some point.
Grade for the Giants: A++
A little surprised by Thibodeaux to Giants. #Jets didn't rate him this highly. If he turns into the next Michael Strahan ... #NFLDraft— Rich Cimini (@RichCimini) April 29, 2022
Meanwhile, the Jets got the player they needed with the fourth overall selection in Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner. The Jets could have easily gone defensive end here as well, but chose to answer a pressing need at corner back.
Listed at 6-foot-3 with 33.5 inch long arms, Garnder is a physical freak. He didn’t give up a single touchdown in college at Cincinnati, and quarterbacks had a measly 30.4 QBR against throwing to him. He is a ball hawk, and likes to get into the faces of wide receivers.
With the likes of Tyreek Hill and Stefon Diggs in the AFC East, the Jets desperately needed a big time corner, and they got him in Sauce Gardner.
The Jets second selection of the first round left a lot of heads scratching.
Garrett Wilson is an explosive wide receiver, and incredibly fast with a 40-time of 4.38 seconds. He had a big year at Ohio State last year with 1,058 yards and 12 touchdowns. The concern is his diminutive size of 5-foot-11. The Jets already have a pair of smallish wide recievers in Elijah Moore and Braxton Berrios. While Wilson adds speed to the lineup, he doesn’t answer the Jets glaring need for a true number one receiver who is big and physical.
The Jets tried to make trades for Tyreek Hill and Deebo Samuel, but nothing came of it. There was rumors they were interested in A.J. Brown and DK Metcalf, but Seattle and Tennessee were never going to deal them. The Jets needed wide out help, but one has to wonder if they would have been better off taking Alabama’s Jameson Williams.
Rapoport: Jets offered 10 and a pick swap for Deebo Samuel. Rejected.— Nicholas McGee (@nicholasmcgee24) April 29, 2022
Williams did have ACL surgery in January, which may have changed their decision making. Wilson is a wait and see situation.
Meanwhile the Jets stunned the world later in the first round, trading with the Tennessee Titans to acquire the 26th overall pick in the draft to select Florida State star defensive end Jermaine Johnson.
Jets really did the damn thang tonight!!!— Damien Woody (@damienwoody) April 29, 2022
The Jets traded the number 35 pick from the second round in order to move up nine spots to get a player many considered a Top 10 talent at defensive end. Johnson led the ACC in sacks (12) and tackles for loss with 18. At 6-5, 254 lbs, he is a lean edge rusher who really impressed scouts at the combine. He could be a huge steal for the Jets.
Jets Draft Grade: A
"They said they'd come get me and they came and got me."— New York Jets (@nyjets) April 29, 2022
You know it, @ii_jermaine.#NFLDraft 4/28-4/30 on NFLN/ABC/ESPN pic.twitter.com/YUFtOHIPZd