Kayvon Thibodeaux’s work ethic has impressed Giants outside linebackers coach Drew Wilkins from the jump.
“He’s incredibly eager,” Wilkins said after Thursday’s sixth OTA practice. “He comes here, he gets his playbook. I’m out with my wife at the Comedy Cellar. You know how you gotta put your phone in the little bag? I pull my phone out of the bag at the end of the show, I’ve got like 10 texts from him: ‘Hey what’s this call? What do we have on this?’ It’s a Saturday night and he’s studying the playbook.
“He’s so driven to succeed,” Wilkins added. “You see it in everything. It’s exciting that he’s here.”
Unfortunately, Thibodeaux isn’t practicing right now. He was on the sideline in a red jersey on Thursday, nursing an undisclosed injury he sustained late in last Thursday’s indoor practice.
He also left the field during the full-team period with other rehabbing players like Kenny Golladay (in a blue jersey now) and Sterling Shepard (Achilles).
The good news is head coach Brian Daboll didn’t seem concerned, and the issue isn’t expected to impact Thibodeaux’s availability for training camp in July.
“I don’t think there’s really any [long-term training camp concerns],” Daboll said. “We’ll see. It’s day-to-day. I’m talking about everybody. I think the red jersey guys are making progress and hopefully we’ll have everybody ready to go.”
Defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale, speaking for the first time since his February hiring, said he was “excited” when the Giants drafted the Oregon Duck No. 5 overall.
“He was Drew’s No. 1 guy and he was my No. 1 [pass rusher] coming out of the process,” Martindale said. “[There are] all his different flexibilities and the way we can use him in the scheme and his pass rush ability. He’s a bright, very football-smart kid that has a lot of aspirations and goals … I’ve loved him since Day 1.”
Wilkins said “if Wink would have created an outside linebacker in a lab, this would be Kayvon Thibodeaux.”
“He has all the skill sets we look for,” Wilkins said. “He can be a dominant edge setter, an explosive and violent and relentless pass rusher, and everything else required in the package.”
Defensive lineman Leonard Williams said Thibodeaux, while known for his big personality, has shown refreshing humility for a top pick.
“I’ve been kind of paying attention to him, seeing what type of guy he is. I’m liking what I’m seeing so far,” Williams said. “It’s small things, like if they need an offensive lineman [on the show team], he’s one of the first ones to run in there and give a look. I appreciate things like that from top picks because he knows that there’s still more that he has to give to the team.”
Seeing Thibodeaux on TV, Williams said he thought “this guy is definitely a character. But meeting him in person, he’s a humble guy and he’s ready to work.”
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