Kayvon Thibodeaux speaks to the media at New York Giants...

Kayvon Thibodeaux speaks to the media at New York Giants rookie minicamp, Friday, May 13, 2022, in East Rutherford. Credit: Corey Sipkin

Kayvon Thibodeaux was drafted to be an impact player on defense for the Giants. Leonard Williams has so far been more impressed by the fifth overall pick’s work as an offensive lineman. Or at least his willingness to play that spot.

Williams, the eight-year veteran, said he’s noticed whenever the defense goes through drills and there is a need for an extra body to line up as a would-be blocker for a “show look,” Thibodeaux is one of the first players to volunteer for the thankless duty.

“It’s the small things,” Williams said on Thursday after his third practice with the highly touted rookie. “I appreciate things like that from top picks because he knows that there is still more he has to give to the team and just because he was drafted high doesn’t mean he can’t help out.”

One of the things Williams has been underwhelmed by — to the point of almost being disappointed, it seemed — has been Thibodeaux’s big personality.

“Honestly, I thought he was going to be more than he actually is,” Williams said with a laugh. “From what you see on TV and what you saw from his draft day I was like, ‘This guy is definitely a character.’ But meeting him in person he’s a humble guy and he’s ready to work . . . I’m definitely impressed with those things.”

Thibodeaux has been impressing the Giants with his play, too, whether it be batting a pass into the air for an interception earlier this week or, on Thursday, nearly keeping up with Saquon Barkley on a route out of the backfield. His ability to create pressure off the edge should help fellow defenders such as Azeez Ojulari on the other side and Williams in the middle make more plays, too.

It wasn’t too long ago Williams himself was like Thibodeaux, a top-10 defensive pick coming to the New York market from a West Coast college program. Perhaps that’s why Williams isn’t too worried about how Thibodeaux plays at this point but is focused instead on how he interacts with his new teammates.

“I’ve been more paying attention to him and seeing what type of guy he is,” Williams said. “I’m liking what I’m seeing so far.”

More Giants