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Giants’ draft class: NFL executive breaks down Kayvon Thibodeaux, Evan Neal, more


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OLB Kayvon Thibodeaux
First round • No. 5 overall
Height: 6-4 • Weight: 254
College: Oregon • Age: 21

Brugler’s scouting report (No. 3 OLB, No. 8 overall): A three-year starter at Oregon, Thibodeaux lined up as a boundary pass-rush linebacker in former defensive coordinator Tim DeRuyter’s 3-4 base scheme. The highest-ranked recruit in Oregon history, he helped the Ducks to three consecutive Pac-12 championship games (two wins) and led the team in tackles for loss and sacks all three seasons, becoming the fourth unanimous All-American in school history as a junior. Although he needs to continue filling out his frame, Thibodeaux is physical versus the run and rushes with up-field urgency and cornering skills to skirt blockers. His go-to move is a powerful jab step that helps open up his options, but he is still learning how to efficiently patch together his rush moves. Overall, Thibodeaux isn’t a fluid mover, and his impact runs hot and cold, but he understands how to create leverage as a pass rusher with his length, flexibility and hand strength. He draws comparisons to Jadeveon Clowney with NFL teams and has the talent to develop into a high-end starter if he stays committed.

Executive’s take: Since Thibodeaux has been a top recruit and a top draft prospect, there’s a perception that he has extraordinary athletic gifts. The executive doesn’t believe that’s the case.

“I think it will be a matter of expectation,” the executive said. “He’s not an athletic freak. He’s a good athlete, he’s not a great one. Really more of a technical rusher. So I think he’s going to be productive. I just don’t know if he’s this Von Miller double-digit sacks, Jevon Kearse out of the gates, like, ‘How do we block this guy? He’s taking the world by storm.’ I think he’s just going to be a really steady six-to-eight-sack guy that’ll be a productive pass rusher in this league, primarily because of his hand use. He’s got a long arm and he understands how to work off his long arm. He’s got some polish as a rusher.”

The executive said questions about Thibodeaux’s on-field motor are overblown. And while there is no denying that Thibodeaux has a big personality, the executive doesn’t see that as a concern.

“I think he’s certainly here for the limelight,” the executive said. “He doesn’t shy away from it. But playing for the Giants now, maybe that’s a good thing. It’s not going to be too big for him. I think he’s smart enough to know that as much as he allegedly cares about his brand, he needs to perform on the field for that to come to fruition.

“I think he’s going to immediately have endorsements, so he’s putting pressure on himself just by virtue of if he doesn’t perform, everyone is going to point to, ‘Told you so,’ rather than it just being the standard transition from college to pro. And that goes back to him not being a freak. It’s a matter of expectation.”

Projected 2022 role: Thibodeaux will have a major role immediately. He’ll step in as a starting outside linebacker and will be expected to quickly become the team’s top edge rusher. Thibodeaux may not dominate as a rookie, but he’ll be a major upgrade at a position that was a weakness.



OL Evan Neal
First round • No. 7 overall
Height: 6-7 • Weight: 351
College: Alabama • Age: 21

Brugler’s scouting report (No. 2 OT, No. 3 overall): A three-year starter at Alabama, Neal started at left tackle as a senior in offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien’s offense. After starting every game at left guard as a freshman and at right tackle as a sophomore, he kicked out to left tackle this past season and played his best football as a junior, earning consensus All-American honors. A smooth athlete for a massive blocker, Neal bends well in pass protection and continues to rework his feet into position, using controlled hand exchange to keep rushers contained. In the run game, he has strong hands and does well at initial contact as a drive blocker, but his balance and sustain skills start to fade as the play progresses. Overall, Neal lacks elite lateral agility and needs to clean up his leaning, but he is an effective blocker thanks to his rare mix of size, athleticism and flexibility. He projects as an immediate NFL starter with Pro Bowl potential and multi-position versatility.

Executive’s take: The executive likes that Neal has the proven ability to play tackle and guard.

“Evan Neal is a solid player,” the executive said. “He’s going to be able to fail at four positions, worst-case scenario. Higher floor, lower ceiling than the other tackle prospects because he’s not a premium athlete. But he can (play) and has played three positions. That’s why I like the fit because Andrew Thomas gets to stay at the blind side, and you solidify the right tackle spot with Evan Neal.”

Hearing Neal described as something less than a premium athlete was surprising considering his No. 1 ranking on Bruce Feldman’s “Freaks list” last year.

“He’s not this sudden, quick-footed, ballerina dancing bear type of a left tackle,” the executive said. “He’s more of a controlled athlete rather than a quick-twitch explosive athlete. But ultimately it doesn’t really matter because there’s more than one way to win, and he’s won consistently in the SEC.”

There were whispers of injury concerns surrounding Neal in the pre-draft process. The executive said Neal wasn’t “entirely clean” medically, but the tackle was still on the team’s draft board.

Projected 2022 role: Neal will take over as the starting right tackle from day one. He should be a major upgrade over Nate Solder, although there figure to be some rough patches as a rookie


WR Wan’Dale Robinson
Second round • No. 43 overall
Height: 5-8 • Weight: 178
College: Kentucky • Age: 21

Brugler’s scouting report (No. 14 WR, No. 105 overall): A one-year starter at Kentucky, Robinson worked primarily out of the slot in offensive coordinator Liam Coen’s scheme (a discipline of Sean McVay). After two mediocre seasons with Nebraska, he transferred back home for the 2021 season and had the most prolific receiving season in Kentucky history, setting school records for catches (104), receiving yards (1,334) and 100-yard receiving games (six). Robinson is hyper-quick and slippery to create pockets of separation out of his breaks and elude pursuit after the catch. He has excellent field awareness with the ball in his hands, but his routes are a little rough, and he has more career drops (11) than receiving touchdowns (10). Overall, Robinson is undersized and more quick than fast, but he is a catch-and-go creator with outstanding vision and athleticism in the open field. He has the potential to be a starting NFL slot receiver and return man.

Executive’s take: Robinson was widely projected to be picked in the third round or later, so it surprised some that he went early in the second round. But the executive was more surprised initially that the Giants targeted a wide receiver with the 43rd pick.

“That one surprised me just because they’re financially tied to (Kenny) Golladay, (Kadarius) Toney, Sterling Shepard is still there, albeit coming off injury,” the executive said. “As soon as you heard of Toney and (Darius) Slayton being available via trade, then you were wondering what they think of those players. I think Wan’Dale ends up being their version of Cole Beasley, maybe a more dynamic version. I think a lot of what the slot does for the quarterback in their offense is a lot of sight adjustments, a lot of locate and settle, pre-snap and post-snap adjustments and reads. So maybe they trust Wan’Dale’s ability to do that more than Kadarius.”

There were other higher-profile receivers on the board, but none of those players fit the Giants offense as well as the shifty Robinson.

“Instant separation,” the executive said. “They’re not going to hesitate to spread you out in empty, they’re not going to hesitate to play with 10 personnel (four wide receivers).”

The obvious concern with Robinson is his 5-foot-8, 178-pound frame.

“I think you know too small when you see it,” the executive said. “He’s pretty well put together. He’s 180 pounds at 5-8. He’s one of those guys that’s short and short-limbed, but he’s not small, if that makes sense.”

Projected 2022 role: The Giants took Robinson early in the second round because they have a clear vision for how he’ll fit in their offense. Expect him to get on the field frequently even with a crowded wide receiver room. Robinson’s versatility will allow the coaches to line him up all over the formation, and it’s easy to scheme touches for a player with Robinson’s skill set. Expect a lot of catches around the line of scrimmage

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Just gonna say this again... outside the top two picks there were 9 JAGs, aside from that TE we got who I think has a chance to be pretty decent.  These guys aren't difference-makers, and Robinson is much more Jerrell Jernigan than Tyreek Hill. 

Outside of our o-line and DE (and I guess backup QB), our roster is somehow actually worse than last year, or at least comparable in how terrible it is. 

There is a very real possibility that Gary Brightwell is going to be the starter by week 8.

Expect 4-5 wins. 

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3 hours ago, TrashTalker92 said:

I’m really interested to see how they going to use Barkley, Toney and rookie Wan’Dale.  They all quick and shifty.  

I don't have a shadow of a doubt they will perform better under Daboll.  I'm really expecting a completely different offense on the field this year and a very successful one at that.

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I always like these anonymous articles.

"An NFL exec" is the new "I need to make my opinion seem valid so I'll just use anonymous sources"

Adam Shefter is just a cesspool now everything he posts is "MY SUPER SECRET INSIDE SOURCES SAY!!!!"

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I don't know what the exec is talking about with the 'they aren't explosive elite athletes' talk. Thibs had a 9.6 RAS, with his highest marks in the ten yard split. And ever seen Neal move? His box jumps went viral. I have no doubt if he did the drills he would have timed very well for his size.

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22 hours ago, BlueInCanada said:

I always like these anonymous articles.

"An NFL exec" is the new "I need to make my opinion seem valid so I'll just use anonymous sources"

Adam Shefter is just a cesspool now everything he posts is "MY SUPER SECRET INSIDE SOURCES SAY!!!!"


20 hours ago, CrazedDogs said:

I don't know what the exec is talking about with the 'they aren't explosive elite athletes' talk. Thibs had a 9.6 RAS, with his highest marks in the ten yard split. And ever seen Neal move? His box jumps went viral. I have no doubt if he did the drills he would have timed very well for his size.

I read this as pure bullshit as well.  If you are really into what you are saying then own it some.  Or just wait until you are out of football.  Otherwise fuckoff will ya?  Anyone who has seen these guys absolutely believes that they are otherworldly.

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