Last year, the New York Giants had two players named to the Pro Bowl — running back Saquon Barkley and defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence. It was Barkley’s second such honor and Lawrence’s first.
Which Giants players could make the Pro Bowl for the first time in 2023?
Conor Orr, a former Giants beat reporter now with Sports Illustrated, has some predictions.
Both Barkley and Lawrence were former first-round picks of the Giants. Orr believes that two other former first-rounders — left tackle Andrew Thomas and outside linebacker Kayvon Thibodeaux — could be next in line for Pro Bowl honors.
Orr sees Thomas as a riser in the ranks among NFC tackles with mainstays such as Philadelphia’s Lane Johnson and Trent Williams of San Francisco ‘phasing’ out their careers.
Thomas was playing in a very schematically diverse offense that regularly shifted personnel groupings in order to confuse the defense. This, plus a run-heavy offense with a mobile quarterback, puts a lot on the shoulders of an offensive tackle. Thomas will be a Pro Bowl regular, especially as Johnson, Williams and some of the older guards in the conference phase out. This will be the first of many.
Thibodeaux began his NFL career dealing with a knee injury. He missed some games and it took half a season for him to get his proverbial footing.
Thibodeaux’s hurry and pressure numbers can also vastly improve this year, lending some buoyancy to his case for a Pro Bowl bid. I would mark this projection as having the least likely chance of happening out of any on my list, while also keeping in mind that Thibodeaux is further removed from his injuries in college than ever, and has a winter and summer under his belt with professional guidance and training. Major leaps can happen.
Thibodeaux only had four sacks as a rookie but sacks are sometimes misleading. At times, it was clear he was a force to be reckoned with whose ceiling is very high.