It was not only the media wondering what the deal was with Kayvon Thibodeaux. No one denied the talent and physical presence of the pass rusher from Oregon. Some scouts and NFL front-office personnel were not sure what to make of what seemed like an outsized personality. Did Thibodeaux want to be a great player or create his own brand?
The Giants were concerned about this, did their due diligence, spent a ton of time with Thibodeaux and ultimately made him the No. 5 pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. After missing the first two games with a sprained knee, Thibodeaux, barring a setback, will make his Giants debut Monday night against the Cowboys at MetLife Stadium.
Leading up to the draft, there were those already on the Giants roster who questioned what they were hearing about Thibodeaux.
“It’s crazy because before I met him I heard a lot of rumors about the guy, a lot of people had a lot of things to say,’’ Oshane Ximines, who filled in as a starter in Thibodeaux’s absence, told The Post. “After I met him and we chopped it up I was like ‘This is a cool guy right here,’ all that s–t they were saying wasn’t really accurate.’’
“He’s a gang banger and all type of s–t,’’ Ximines said. “It was crazy. I didn’t know what to expect from him coming in here. He’s a great dude, Loves the game. I’m excited to have him in the locker room.’’
Ximines says he has no doubt Thibodeaux is ready for what comes next.
“Just the way he works, he comes in every day trying to get better, even when he was out he was out there just like he was going to play, he was always locked in to the meetings,’’ Ximines said. “We’re ready to see him play.’’
As for his own role, Ximines in the first two games played more than 60 percent of the snaps on defense, coming up with one sack and five solo tackles. With Thibodeaux and another edge rusher, Azeez Ojulari, set to make their 2022 debuts, Ximines will see his snaps reduced.
“I don’t really worry about what it is,’’ he said. “Whatever they tell me my job is, that’s what I’m going to do.’’
The Giants could get a break, with Cowboys TE Dalton Schultz listed as questionable with a knee injury. Schultz has nine receptions in the first two games. … Linebacker sensation Micah Parsons missed time this past week with an illness but is expected to play. In two games this season, he has four sacks — two apiece in a loss to the Buccaneers and a victory over the Bengals — to go along with seven quarterback hits and four tackles for loss. Parsons in two games (119 snaps) against the Giants last season did not have a sack. He did have three quarterback hits.
Defensive coordinator Wink Martindale last week challenged Giants fans to intimidate the opposing offense and said he was pleased with the results in the 19-16 victory over the Panthers. He upped the ante this week.
“It should be like an avalanche once they get in that stadium,’’ Martindale said. “The fans definitely held up their end of the bargain. And it helps us immensely on defense when they have to go to their silent count and everything else. That should be the goal every time.’’