At age 33, Von Miller is still effective enough to land a $120 million contract in free agency.
The New York Giants reportedly see that type of long-term brilliance in Kayvon Thibodeaux.
Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated reported there are people in the Giants organization who believe Thibodeaux's skills are "analogous to Miller’s." New Giants defensive coordinator Wink Martindale is expected to use Thibodeaux in a manner similar to Miller at the next level.
The Oregon product came into the draft as one of the most-discussed prospects in this class, becoming the latest victim of predraft anonymous sourcing. Executives and coaches around the league questioned Thibodeaux's love for football all under the cloak of anonymity, despite a decorated college career.
"He’s a big personality. If you’re a team that isn’t comfortable with one player pushing himself into the spotlight, he’s probably not for you," one defensive coach told Bruce Feldman of The Athletic. "The issues to me are gonna come up with the competing focus. Is he too worried about his brand? When we brought him in, I was like, whoa, s--t, this guy is a handful."
Thibodeaux addressed the talk after being drafted by the Giants, saying he's committed to coming in and showing off his work ethic.
"Everything is about what you do," Thibodeaux said. "I feel like, one thing with me, I can't be a guy who blows smoke. I can't be a guy with nothing to show for it. I can't be a guy who people look at and don't believe in. So for me, no matter what I say, I know I have to go put in the work."
In the end, all it takes is one team to believe in a player. While Thibodeaux didn't go as the No. 1 overall pick the way he'd been projected in the early part of the 2021 season, fifth isn't so bad.