Drew Wilkins managed to find a few hours for a date with his wife earlier this month. They went to a comedy club in New York, and Wilkins stashed his cell phone in his wife’s purse for the duration of the yucks.
“I take my phone out of the bag at the end of the show,” he recalls, “and I have about 10 text messages from [Kayvon Thibodeaux]. ‘What is this call? What do we have on this? It’s a Saturday night and he’s studying the playbook and he wants to know ‘What’s my downfall in this? What are we doing against this? ”
It was exactly what Wilkins, the Giants outside linebacker coach, and the rest of the organization expected of their first-round pick. That’s why when the draft came around in April, Wilkins of course wanted Thibodeaux to come to New York because he’s playing the position he’s coaching, but the whole team was excited about the possibility.
“Our whole organization, we thought this guy was a perfect fit for what we’re trying to do now,” Wilkins said. “If wink [Martindale, the Giants’ defensive coordinator] had to create an outside linebacker in a lab, it would be Kayvon Thibodeaux. He has all the skills you are looking for. He can be a dominant passer, an explosive, violent and relentless pass thrower, and everything you see that is required of the package. All of those things combined, it’s such a great fit for us and he just picked it up and ran with it.
Even Thibodeaux’s oversized personality, which some teams saw as a red flag due to his apparent desire to become a “brand” rather than a football player, has meshed well with the Giants embracing this trait.
“The mark I saw was a hard-working, humble, dominant football player,” Wilkins said. “It was the brand that we all recognized here at the Giants and would suit us.”
Notes and quotes: Thibodeaux wore a red injury jersey working on the side during Thursday’s OTA and hasn’t trained with the team since last week. Coach Brian Daboll suggested it was mostly a precaution to keep him out of action. . . LT Andrew Thomas has taken part in more drills this week than last week as he recovers from ankle surgery in the offseason. He remained in the red jersey of the injured. . . Rookie Wan’Dale Robinson made the catch of the day, battling the ball away from cornerback Aaron Robinson on a through pass from Daniel Jones for a touchdown. . . The defense had two long pick-six interceptions on Jones, one each by Adoree’ Jackson and Xavier McKinney, although one came on a missed catch attempt by receiver David Sills and the other after receiver James Richie slipped in his path.