Giants hope Kayvon Thibodeaux-Evan Neal battles breed success

Giants hope Kayvon Thibodeaux-Evan Neal battles breed success

For years, as two of the most highly regarded athletes in their high school class, the rumblings were there. We’ve got to see these two go against each other. Would Kayvon Thibodeaux’s cat-first step get the better of the massive Evan Neal? Or, would Neal’s wingspan and power stop the smaller Thibodeaux in his tracks?

The two — Neal from Florida, Thibodeaux from South Los Angeles — appeared together at recruiting camps, but never faced each other in an actual game. Perhaps they never will. Perhaps they will spend their entire NFL careers where they are starting, with the Giants. If so, the cloak of losing that has enveloped the Giants for so long will have been removed and shredded.

“It’s just ironic we ended up on the same NFL team,’’ Neal said Saturday. “Just excited to go against him every day and make each other better. I believe iron sharpens iron.’’

If what is transpiring on the practice field this summer is an appetizer to the main course, the Giants might look back on the 2022 draft — specifically what they reeled in during the first round — as the nourishment that fortified their franchise. Four days into training camp, the sight of Thibodeaux lining up at outside linebacker and blasting his way toward Neal, the right tackle, conjures up vibes of being in the studio when two young, gifted songwriters craft their nascent tunes.

Giants linebacker Kayvon Thibodeaux (5) and offensive lineman Evan Neal (70) run a play during training camp.

These two 21-year-olds have yet to play in an NFL game. Heck, they have yet to strap on the shoulder pads and engage in a genuine NFL practice. That will happen Monday, when Neal and Thibodeaux, the foundation pieces for a Giants revitalization, take turns showing what all the fuss is about.

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