Oregon defensive lineman Kayvon Thibodeaux speaks during a press conference...

Oregon defensive lineman Kayvon Thibodeaux speaks during a press conference at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis on Friday. Credit: AP/AJ Mast

INDIANAPOLIS — Oregon edge rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux’s place on draft boards seems to be fluctuating daily, but he is confident that the teams picking fourth and fifth are very high on him.

The Jets and Giants have formally interviewed Thibodeaux at the NFL Combine. Both teams need edge rushers. If Thibodeaux — a 6-5, 250-pound speed rusher who had 19 sacks in 30 games — is not taken in the top three, he might not get past the Jets at four or the Giants at five.

Thibodeaux met with the Jets on Friday morning — in person with general manager Joe Douglas and with coach Robert Saleh joining virtually. The Jets need to build Saleh’s defense, which is predicated on his front four wreaking havoc. Thibodeaux said they broke down film and he got the sense that the Jets are "really interested" in drafting him.

"They love how I can break down and articulate pass rush, run scheme, film," Thibodeaux said. "They’re really interested in me. And they asked me how I’d feel if I wasn’t taken No. 1. It’s all about what I can do to contribute to a Super Bowl, what I can to do contribute to a winning team and help cultivate a winning culture."

Thibodeaux said he had "a great interview" with the Giants and their new regime. They even got on him to see how he would handle going through on-field struggles under close media scrutiny.

Thibodeaux grew up in South Central Los Angeles and told the Giants he’s built for playing in a big city and all the pressures that come with it.

"They were giving me a hard time," he said. "But I feel like it was like that big brother moment where they give you a hard time because they’re interested in you and they like you."

He added, "Just giving me a hard time, like, ‘What’s going to happen if I’m not the star coming in, five games in if I don’t have a sack.’ This is one thing that we talked about. ‘The media’s going to be down on me, I’m going to be in the doghouse, how am I going to handle that?’

"I let them know, I’ve been in the media since I was a sophomore in high school. So I’ve been trained for this my whole life, and I know most of it is entertainment.

"I’m not really worried, because whatever happens between the four walls of the team and the organization is what’s going to dictate the future. And if I have five bad games, we’re going to focus on that next week and how we’re going to dominate the team that’s next."

Edge rusher is such a premium position that it would be somewhat surprising if Thibodeaux is there for either the Jets or Giants.

There was a time that Thibodeaux was expected to be one of the top two picks along with Michigan defensive end Aidan Hutchinson. Reports surfaced recently that Thibodeaux’s stock might be slipping because he takes some plays off.

Thibodeaux countered that he’s a "four-down player" and he’ll have "a big impact" on whatever team drafts him. He doesn’t feel he has to convince teams of his love for football and drive to succeed.

"I’m an L.A. kid," he said, "and if you know the adversity I went through to get here and the things I had to sacrifice and the things my mother had to sacrifice for me to be here, you’d really understand how I feel in my heart.

"When you talk about fire, when you talk about passion, you can’t really explain it. I get emotional thinking about it because of all the sacrifices it took me to get here. I wouldn’t have even made the sacrifices if I didn’t love the game. I’m blessed to be here and I’m just happy that these teams want to talk to me and get to know me."

More Jets

Newsday LogoCovering LI news as it happensDigital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months