Giants great Osi Umenyiora sees himself in Kayvon Thibodeaux

Giants great Osi Umenyiora sees himself in Kayvon Thibodeaux

This was the idea offered to the listener on the opposite finish of the cellphone line: Of all the varied and gifted cross rushers the Giants drafted, cultivated and unleashed on the opposing quarterback within the period of the 2 most up-to-date Tremendous Bowls, the latest entry, Kayvon Thibodeaux, most resembles Osi Umenyiora. 


“He wouldn’t be something like JPP, he doesn’t remind me of Kiwi, doesn’t remind me of Tuck, doesn’t remind me of Strahan, truly,’’ Umenyiora instructed The Submit from his residence in London. “Yeah, you’re proper, he’s extra like myself.’’ 

In a single fast synopsis, Umenyiora harkened again to a time that nearly feels prehistoric, in contrast with the malaise that has taken maintain of the franchise for the previous 5 years. He performed throughout an age when pass-rush monsters roamed the Meadowlands turf. Michael Strahan. Umenyiora. Justin Tuck. Mathias Kiwanuka. Jason Pierre-Paul. Totally different kinds, different strengths, a shared bond of successful video games and wreaking havoc. 

Giants defensive finish Osi Umenyiora reacts after sacking Washington’s Robert Griffin III in 2012.CSM /LANDOV

Will Thibodeau observe this lineage and usher within the subsequent wave of edge rushers? Will he and Azeez Ojulari, coming off a promising eight-sack rookie season, play off one another and meet on the quarterback the way in which Strahan, Umenyiora, Tuck, Kiwanuka and Pierre-Paul convened in such devastatingly efficient trend? 

“I like him as a participant for positive,’’ Umenyiora mentioned. “Very dynamic soccer participant. He’s robust towards the run, which for a university cross rusher of his caliber, you don’t actually see that. Sturdy, fast first step, good bend across the edge, good pass-rush strikes, good velocity, good motor. 

“The way in which he performs, the way in which he rushes the passer I believe you’d say he has a really related sport and a really related talent set to what I did, for positive. I like him as a participant, I do.’’ 

There’s a lot to love. Extra to love with Thibodeaux, the No. 5 choose within the NFL draft, than there was when Umenyiora was chosen by the Giants in 2003 within the second spherical, at No. 56 total. 

The Giants chosen Oregon edge rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux with the No. 5 choose within the 2022 NFL Draft.James Atoa/UPI/Shutterstock

“We needed this man so dangerous that we form of singled him out,’’ Ernie Accorsi, the overall supervisor on the time, mentioned. 

“This man can run, this man can fly off the sting and he’s not a bit man, this children received some dimension,’’ mentioned Jerry Reese, who ran the draft for the Giants till he changed Accorsi in 2007. 

The velocity, quickness and first step off the road is what attracted the Giants to Umenyiora. Thibodeaux is minimize from the identical mould. Coming into the NFL, he’s a extra refined model, although, having performed at a better stage in school (Oregon) than Umenyiora (Troy State). 

Born in London and raised for seven years in Nigeria, Umenyiora got here to the Giants with a far decrease profile than Thibodeaux, the South Central Los Angeles product, a mega highschool and school star residing within the highlight for a number of years. His character is outsized. Umenyiora, who had 85 profession NFL sacks — 75 in 9 seasons with the Giants — is at present a BBC Sport media pundit. He realized to develop comfy within the New York market. Thibodeaux appears ready-made for it. 

Is he, because the Giants questioned within the early levels of the pre-draft course of, virtually too prepared for all of the off-the-field hubbub? Is Thibodeaux so considering turning into a Strahanesque superstar that he fails to prioritize the soccer greatness that Strahan achieved to launch his Q Rating? 

The Giants finally concluded Thibodeaux ought to be capable to thrive amid the glare. 

“I believe that works and by way of what’s gonna work in New York, if he’s the participant they drafted him to be he’s gonna be a famous person, proper?’’ Umenyiora mentioned. “I believe he’ll, as a result of he has every part. He’s received the look, he’s received the speak, he’s received the sport — school sport, anyway — to again it up. 

“If he is an effective participant within the NFL then New York is for the taking for him, as a result of they actually haven’t had any person like that for a very long time. His character is sweet however he’s received to have the ability to play and you bought to have the ability to carry out on the highest stage if that’s your complete factor. Hopefully he’ll be capable to try this. I believe he’s received an excellent likelihood of having the ability to try this.’’ 

Strahan has a mentorship reference to Thibodeaux and Strahan’s recommendation — hold the primary factor the primary factor — has already been parroted by Thibodeaux. This may be simpler mentioned than finished for a 21-year-old with stars in his eyes. 

Thibodeaux admits he is aware of little of the Giants’ pass-rush legacy he’s tasked with rebirthing. 

“I’d say that’s actually the one factor I’m ignorant to, in the case of my soccer historical past,’’ Thibodeaux mentioned. “So I shall be selecting it up. I’ve to perform a little research earlier than I get in entrance of all these cameras.’’ 

Quickly sufficient, Thibodeaux shall be entrance and middle, on the sphere and inside vary of all these cameras. He’ll be taught what it means to win massive or lose with regularity in New York.

Oregon’s Kayvon Thibodeaux participates in a drill throughout the faculty’s NFL soccer Professional Day.AP

Umenyiora is aware of all about this. He was not even a full-time starter for the crew that received Tremendous Bowl XLVI after the 2011 season and but he received paid by Nike, Verizon and 5-Hour Vitality to seem in three separate commercials. 

“Nothing prefer it,’’ Umenyiora mentioned. “That’s loopy, however that’s due to the market I used to be in. You bought to have the ability to make the most of that.’’ 

The recommendation Umenyiora provides Thibodeaux now’s completely different from counsel he would have offered throughout his taking part in days. 

Again then, Umenyiora was cautious of the media. 

“My warning for him then would have been ‘You might want to chill, it’s essential to be quiet, don’t say something, these individuals are coming for you,’ ’’ he mentioned. 

And now? 

“Simply proceed to do you,’’ Umenyiora mentioned. “Simply go on the market and play ball, when you carry out the way in which he’s alleged to carry out they’re gonna deal with you honest and so they’re gonna love you. In the event you don’t carry out, they’re gonna get on you and so they’re going to show you a lesson, as a result of it’s the most important media market on this planet and it’s virtually like every part is on steroids there, due to that market. That’s the great and the dangerous, simply pay attention to that.’’ 

It’s all coming for Kayvon Thibodeaux, subsequent in line for the Giants.

About Muji Sakawari

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