Kayvon Thibodeaux will be ready for his first NFL training camp when the New York Giants rookies report on July 19.
The No. 5 overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft reportedly sustained a minor hip injury during a spring practice, but Thibodeaux said Monday during a visit to NFL Network that it's full speed ahead for his first season.
"I'm fully healthy, I'm doing fine," Thibodeaux said. "I'm back training and I'll be ready to go for training camp."
This time of year is the NFL's so-called offseason, but Thibodeaux's schedule feels far from it. He wakes up at 6 a.m. every weekday and has his first workout of the day from 6:30 to 8 a.m., a cardio-based session. He gets an hour-long lift in at 9 a.m., before taking a three-hour break to relax and eat. At noon, he hits the film room and learns his new playbook, has a physical therapy session at 2 p.m., attends to various business meetings afterward and finishes each day with yoga around 4:30 p.m.
In three seasons at Oregon, he amassed 126 tackles (84 solo), 19 sacks, seven passes defended and three forced fumbles. He'll be asked to help the Giants improve their pass rush, which had a total of 34 sacks (T-22nd in the NFL) and a 24.2 QB pressure percentage (28th, per Next Gen Stats).
He's been honing his skills throughout the pre-draft process and since joining the Giants with help from the team's more seasoned defensive linemen, including Azeez Ojulari, who led the Giants with eight sacks in 2021 (the most by a Giants rookie since individual defensive sacks were first tracked in 1982), Leonard Williams and Dexter Lawrence.
"It's been great learning from the guys," Thibodeaux said. "One person can't do every move, so it's been understanding what I can do and what's good for me and my game. Then it's fine-tuning everything I have. ... The biggest challenge (heading into my rookie season) is understanding I can't control everything. I can only control what I can control. Even though I want to do as much as I can, I can only do the task at hand, my job."
The Giants head into the 2022 season with a new head coach (Brian Daboll) and defensive coordinator (Don "Wink" Martindale). The team goal is no doubt to win -- New York's last winning season was in 2016, which was also the last time it made the postseason. As far as individual success, Thibodeaux, who'll be a DE/OLB in the Giants' defense, is focused on winning the day every day.
"I don't want to think too big. You have to compartmentalize the season," he said, adding the message from the coaching staff to him has been to stay in the playbook during the team's down time. "If I could average at least one sack a game or contribute five to 10 tackles a game, then I'll be good.
"That's the smartest way to do it. You never want to look at the end. You always want to take it day by day. If you reach for the top, you'll miss those steps right in front of you. So I know if I take those small steps and get that one sack or five to 10 tackles a game, by the end of the season, I'll be where I want to be."
No one knows how to do that better with the Giants than Michael Strahan, who has mentored Thibodeaux since before he was drafted in the first round by the team with which Strahan played for 15 seasons and won a Super Bowl.
"He's been a great mentor showing me the ropes and showing me how to stay focused while building an empire around me," Thibodeaux said. "We always talk about being strategic in everything we do, so he's kind of helped hone that in."
Thibodeaux has only been part of the organization for roughly two months, but he has everything he needs to hit the ground running when he arrives at training camp. He has the support, talent, confidence, dedication and the health. Now, it's up to him (and he's well aware of the task at hand) to take the next step and help this Giants team succeed.