The big personality. The flash. The ability to wreck games.
Mike Francesa sees what is coming with Kayvon Thibodeaux. And he isn’t thrilled about it. The WFAN legend is concerned about the inevitable comparisons between the new Giants defensive end and Hall of Famer Lawrence Taylor after Thibodeaux was the No. 5 pick in last week’s NFL Draft.
“We know he is an outspoken kid,” Francesa said on his BetRivers podcast. “We know how good he thinks he is. The thing you’re going to worry about with this guy, who clearly has explosive ability on the edge, the scary thing is they’re going to get caught in the next Lawrence Taylor stuff. And this kid is going to be able, and I think willing, to play into that. And that’s not fair for anybody. Just like you’re waiting for the next Mickey Mantle, everyone’s always waiting for the next LT. Don’t put that mantle on this kid.”
“Don’t ask him to be what Lawrence Taylor was, which was Superman. I don’t care how good somebody becomes. They’re not going to be Mickey Mantle. They’re not going to be Lawrence Taylor. Don’t ask this kid. For this kid to be a home run pick, he doesn’t have to be Lawrence Taylor. He just has to be himself. And be a highly explosive, highly dependable, productive player at his position.”
Thibodeaux was a star at Oregon and was considered a potential No. 1 pick early in the pre-draft process. But he was also hit with red flags due to his non-football interests and stated desire to build his brand. Some teams undoubtedly shied away, and even the Giants were reported to have concerns at one point. They obviously worked past those if they were ever a true obstacle in the first place. But Francesa does not think they’re out of the woods yet, especially given how everyone will now compare him to the dominant and flamboyant Taylor.
“There were some teams that were worried about this guy, worried about his off-field stuff,” he said. “They worried about his whole persona, little full of himself, et cetera. There is no question what kind of talent he is. And there is no question it was a very solid pick. … Am I worried about Thibodeaux in New York? A little bit. Am I worried about the LT thing? A little bit. It could be a little bit of a tough transition for him. He would scare me a little bit. But his talent outweighs that.”