FILE – Azeez Ojulari of the New York Giants participates in a practice at the NFL Football Team’s training facility in East Rutherford, NJ on May 26, 2022. Ojulari passed his physical exam and trained with the team on Sunday, August 14, 2022, for the first time since training camp opened. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)


The New York Giants not only have two promising young tackles at the end of the offensive line, they now have two talented young point runners on the defensive line.

The pairs of bookends were completed when second-year linebacker Azeez Ojulari passed his physical and was removed from the non-football injury list. He had come to training camp with a hamstring injury and was only allowed to practice on Sunday.

When Wink Martindale’s defense entered the field, there were times when Oljuari was on one side of the line and rookie Kayvon Thibodeaux, the No. 5 draft pick, was on the other. During camp, they will often face left tackle Andrew Thomas, the No. 4 pick in 2020, and Evan Neal, the No. 7 overall pick this year.

Ojulari led the Giants with eight sacks in his rookie season and added 49 tackles. The athletic Thibodeaux was considered one of the best rushers in the country coming from Oregon.

“We have the same energy, the same drive,” Ojulari said after training of his similarities to Thibodeaux. “We’re definitely going to push each other and feed off each other’s energy and go after people.”

For the first two and a half weeks of camp, Ojulari wore a red non-contact jersey and worked with the coaches outside of practice. He attended team meetings and insisted on Sunday that he had not fallen behind his teammates in learning the new defense.

“Even though I was on the side, I’m still locked in with the walkthroughs, the play calls, the playbook and everything – the conditioning and everything,” he said. “I’m still locked up. I have to keep picking up the slack with pads and everything.”

Thibodeaux and Ojulari are exceptional athletes – fast off the ball, and have good length and strength.

“Definitely explosive, and not just those two,” Thomas said. “We have a pretty good group of outside linebackers right now. I can’t wait to see what they do.

The rusher should all benefit from Martindale’s aggressive defense, which tends to bring rushers from all angles.

Ojulari likely won’t be ready for the Giants’ preseason game at home against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday.

NOTES: The Giants waived CB Michael Jacquet and G Josh Rivas and terminated DB Jarrod Wilson’s contract. … Coach Brian Daboll says starting LG Shane Lemieux will be out for at least a week with a foot injury. T Jamil Douglas (ankle) and CB Cor’Dale Flott (groin) were also injured in the preseason opener against New England and missed practice on Sunday. … C Jon Feliciano, who struggled with dehydration at the start of camp, did not complete training. LBs Jihad Ward and Ellerson Smith left the field early. Among the players who did not practice were DL Leonard Williams, WRs Wan’Dale Robinson and Kadarius Toney and LB Blake Martinez.


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