2022 NFL Draft: Kayvon Thibodeaux Scouting Report

Kayvon Thibodeaux NFL Draft
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Kayvon Thibodeaux NFL Draft Overview

Position: Defensive End

Height: 6’4”

Weight: 254 Lbs.

School: University of Oregon

NFL Combine Performance Data

40-yard dash: 4.58 Seconds

Vertical jump: Did Not Test

Broad jump: Did Not Test

225 Lb. Bench Reps: 27 Repetitions

Kayvon Thibodeaux 2022 NFL Draft Profile

Kayvon Thibodeaux is one of the top two defensive ends in this year’s draft class. In fact, he’s been gathering accolades since high school. During his senior year at Oaks Christian School in Los Angeles, Thibodeaux earned the honor of High School Football Defensive Player of the Year by USA Today. He totaled 18 sacks and 54 tackles in his senior year of high school.

Thibodeaux picked up right where he left off at the beginning of college. He played in 13 games his freshman year at Oregon. The young defender had 35 total tackles, nine sacks, and a forced fumble in his first collegiate season. Thibodeaux was 2019 Pac-12 Defensive Freshman of the Year. He then totaled 42 tackles as a sophomore with three sacks in just seven games of action.

The standout Junior from Oregon was a unanimous All-American for the 2021 season even though he missed two games. Thibodeaux is also a two-time member of the First-Team All-Pac-12 (2020 and 2021). His collegiate career totals are 126 tackles (84 solo), 35.5 tackles for loss, 19 sacks, and three forced fumbles in 30 games played.

Thibodeaux has a combination of size, speed, and production that bodes well for his NFL career. Many prospects rely on prototypical size to rise up draft boards. While Thibodeaux has size, he’s also a freakish athlete who’s already shown he can win on the edge. Thibodeaux has indeed generated some negative buzz since the combine, though. Despite his fast 40 time and high-rep bench press, Thibodeaux withdrew from the workout portion of the NFL Combine early. He reportedly withdrew because of “how long the day was”. This decision may have affected his draft stock, but if teams were interested before they probably still are.

Strengths

  • Speed to power moves allow him to move tackles off-balance
  • Employs multiple pass-rush techniques including bull rush, swim move, and speed rip to beat offensive lineman and get to the quarterback quickly
  • 27 bench press reps were the most by any defensive end in the 2022 draft class
  • has the ability to shed blocks in the run game to make a play on the ball carrier
  • has pop in his hands when engaging with tackles to bend around the edge quickly
  • Employs the “Ghost” pass rush technique to fake a power move and then slide under the blocker
  • Has an eye for the quarterback and adjusts his angle to align with him
  • disruptive rusher; allows teammates an opportunity to hit the quarterback even on plays when he doesn’t

Weaknesses

  • Accused of taking plays off during college
  • Tight hips don’t allow him the bend expected from an elite pass rusher at the NFL level
  • Needs to work on gap integrity as he sometimes will abandon his gap to try and make a play
  • Sometimes uses a stutter step that slows him down on the play and keeps him from finishing

NFL Comparison: Khalil Mack

Teams with need at the position: Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars, New York Jets, New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, Seattle Seahawks

Projection: Top 10 Pick

Bottom line on Kayvon Thibodeaux

Thibodeaux has all the traits to be an elite pass rusher at the next level. Though his draft stock has dipped a little since the combine, he’s still very likely to be a top 1o pick in this year’s draft. In fact, the questions about Thibodeaux are not about playmaking ability, rather they are about his drive and maturity.

Thibodeaux’s rare combination of size, speed, and power make him an attractive addition to a team’s defense. Aidan Hutchinson is widely viewed as the number one pass rusher in this draft, but if Hutchinson is 1A, Thibodeaux is 1B. The team that drafts Thibodeaux will get a freakish athlete with elite upside. Thibodeaux has some minor weaknesses in his game, but most of them can be strengthened through coaching. He’ll quickly become a problem for opposing offenses.

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