When the Giants chose defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux with the fifth overall pick in the draft, former Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora liked what he saw. Primarily because he saw a player a lot like himself.
Umenyiora wasn’t quite the high-level prospect that Thibodeaux was (Umenyiora went to the Giants with the 46th overall pick in the 2003 NFL draft), but Umenyiora said the way they play makes Thibodeaux more like himself than like Giants defensive ends of the past such as Jason Pierre-Paul, Mathias Kiwanuka, Justin Tuck or Michael Strahan.
“He wouldn’t be anything like JPP, he doesn’t remind me of Kiwi, doesn’t remind me of Tuck, doesn’t remind me of Strahan, actually,’’ Umenyiora told the New York Post. “Yeah, you’re right, he’s more like myself.’’
Umenyiora has moved back to his native London since retiring from the NFL, but he still follows football and has worked as a broadcaster on London NFL games. So he’s quite familiar with Thibodeaux.
“I like him as a player for sure,’’ Umenyiora said. “Very dynamic football player. He’s strong against the run, which for a college pass rusher of his caliber, you don’t really see that. Strong, quick first step, good bend around the edge, good pass-rush moves, good speed, good motor. The way he plays, the way he rushes the passer I think you would say he has a very similar game and a very similar skill set to what I did, for sure. I like him as a player, I do.’’
Umenyiora was a first-team All-Pro and won two Super Bowl rings as a Giant, so they would love to see Thibodeaux prove that he plays like Umenyiora.