With the fifth overall selection, the New York Giants selected Kayvon Thibodeaux, a 6-5, 258-pound edge rusher from the University of Oregon.
Thibodeaux played in 32 games with 21 starts in three seasons at Oregon. He collected 123 tackles (82 solo), 35.5 tackles for loss, 19.0 sacks and three forced fumbles. Thibodeaux was a unanimous All-America in 2021 when he recorded a career-high 50 tackles, including 12 stops for loss and 7.0 sacks.
After the selection, Thibodeaux reacted to joining the Giants:
Q: You had said on stage that you were getting on a plane and you got a FaceTime from the Giants, what was that like and was that kind of the sign for you that something was happening?
KAYVON THIBODEAUX: They were surprised that I answered. But you know me I’m always authentic with it, so just being able to have that last minute conversation gave me that idea that yeah, they really care.
Q; Why are you made for New York? Why is New York the perfect landing spot for you?
KAYVON THIBODEAUX: Because I’m hungry. I’m really competitive and hungry and I feel like New York is the pinnacle of a dog-eat-dog world.
Q: Did you spend more time with the Giants than other teams or did you spend a lot of time with a lot of teams?
KAYVON THIBODEAUX: I spent the most time with the Giants, definitely.
Q: What did you think about getting to know (General Manager) Joe Schoen, (Head Coach) Brian Daboll and (Defensive Coordinator) Wink (Martindale) and the other guys here?
KAYVON THIBODEAUX: It was really dope because we really got to build a foundation, I don’t want to say relationship, but we built a foundation, and now I have a real understanding because when I get there, I can go to them for anything.
Q: What did you think you had to prove to them or were there any questions you felt like they needed answered when you kept going through the process and meeting them at different points?
KAYVON THIBODEAUX: I don’t necessarily know if there was anything specific that they needed answers, but I answered all of the questions without them asking. I was able to lay it all out on the line and I think they respected my delivery.
Q: There has been much said about Wink’s defense being multiple. How do you fit into that?
KAYVON THIBODEAUX: I’m a smart guy. I feel like his multiple defense is really going to give me the opportunity to be versatile and kind of just show everything I bring to the team.
Q: What’s your relationship like with (Former New York Giants Defensive End) Michael Strahan?
KAYVON THIBODEAUX: He literally is one of my mentors and he’s been talking to me throughout this process. He actually came to visit me when I was on my visit with the team, so seeing him out there that was really dope because he’s given me wisdom and he even was able to speak on my behalf because we have built a relationship over the year.
Q: How valuable will it be to have that resource when you get here do you think?
KAYVON THIBODEAUX: It’s really dope because he has literally walked in my footsteps and can show me the ropes on the field and off the field.
Q: What are the Giants getting as a player out of you?
KAYVON THIBODEAUX: They are getting a leader, they are getting a competitor and they are getting a guy who wants to win at any means.
Q: Did you think there were any misconceptions about you in this Draft process? Obviously, the Giants didn’t buy in to those, but did you think that you’re a little bit misunderstood as a player and a person and as a prospect?
KAYVON THIBODEAUX: I feel like anything that was said about me before this point is history, and now all we’re focused on is the future.
Q; What do you remember about the dinner you went on with Joe? He was talking how you took him to Korean barbecue for the first time.
KAYVON THIBODEAUX: Exactly, I took him to my house and we were able to break bread and do everything that we needed and I let them know that I eat, right. It was really dope, we got to break bread and we really got to build that relationship. (celebratory noise) My bad, I’m sitting here with (Giants Tackle) Evan Neal and we’re sitting here – and it’s time.
Q: What’s that like to be there with Evan and knowing you guys just got picked together? I would imagine in your mind, you guys will be together for a while?
KAYVON THIBODEAUX: When you think about it, it’s a blessing when you have a complete competitor on the other side of the ball that you’re going to be able to go against every day knowing that you’re getting better because he’s getting better because we want to.
Q: It’s been said you’re probably the best edge rusher in the Draft. How are you against the run?
KAYVON THIBODEAUX: You’ve got to watch the tape.
Q: What do you say to that notion that your motor did not always run hot, that you took plays off? What do you say to that?
KAYVON THIBODEAUX: I say that the Giants believe in me, and me and Evan are going to go to work, and this is probably one of the greatest moments of my life.
Q: Who is going to win the one-on-one reps in rookie minicamp?
KAYVON THIBODEAUX: It’s going to be 50/50 every time. He’s going to hit me with an upper cut and I’m going to hit him with a right hook. He’ll hit me with a jab and I’m going to hit him with a stomach hit. We’re going to keep going back-to-back.