Kayvon Thibodeaux Draft Profile
It is no secret that this year is a weaker draft class, but if you look hard enough you will find a diamond in the rough with pro-bowl potential. For Oregon's defensive end, Kayvon Thibodeaux, you don’t have to look too hard, except with him it’s not pro bowl potential, it is defensive player of the year potential. Thibodeaux is my number one graded player in this year’s draft— he is the cream of the crop. I have known about Thibodeaux since he was in middle school because he went to school three blocks away from my house. I say that to say if you lived in Los Angeles, you knew who Thibodeaux was. His name echoed through the streets— he has always been “the next big thing”, and now he will have the chance to prove it. Thibodeaux is a special player that offensive coordinators will need to gameplay around. He always finds a way to make his presence felt and will be the number one pass rusher for whatever team takes a shot on him.
Kayvon Thibodeaux is a force who can win rushes with both power and his hands but is best with his speed rushes. He is at his best when lining up in a two-point stance as a nine-technique. The well-rounded pass-rusher can also line up as a standup outside linebacker or as a five-tech. The former basketball and track star is as versatile as they come and dominate where ever he lines up. His go-to rush move is the prototypical speed rush where he bends at the top of his rush to get to the quarterback. He also has a track record of bullrushes, club-rips, double hand swipes, and swim moves. As a college athlete, Thibodeaux was doing pro-moves at a high level. For a defensive lineman, Thibodeaux is extremely twitchy; his quick movements force offensive lineman to reach and set up rush moves for him in the future. It is rare to find a defensive lineman as cerebral as Thibodeaux; he uses chess as an analogy to rushing the passer, “I have to use the first move to dictate my second move which will, in the end, get me to my third move which will hopefully be checkmate”. Coaches will love Thibodeaux because he has all of the physical and mental tools to make an impact from day one. His speed as a rusher allows him to split offensive linemen in the run game and blow up plays in the backfield. Thibodeaux has the full package as a rusher: the smarts, bend, strength, speed, and motor. If I was an NFL general manager picking number one overall, Thibodeaux would be my guy.
While Thibodeaux has the tools that defensive coordinators drool over and offensive coordinators are terrified of; all he needs to work on is his discipline. There are times when he will over-commit and be burnt on quarterback options or reverses. As a pass rusher, his number one goal is always to get to the quarterback, but sometimes all he needs to do is contain the quarterback. There will be times when he either gets too far upfield on his rushes or goes too far inside. This sets up open running lanes for opposing quarterbacks. If a good defensive line coach can teach him to be more disciplined with his rushes, Thibodeaux will be an all-pro player. This problem is coachable and should be an easy fix— I suspect Thibodeaux will be in contention for defensive player of the year by the time he reaches his second contract.
The only position more valuable than a quarterback in today’s NFL is an all-star pass rusher. In a draft where there is no clear number one quarterback, Thibodeaux is very deserving of the number one pick. As a prospect he is right under the Myles Garrett tier— I put him right up there with Nick Bosa and Josh Allen (from 2019). If I’m the Jaguars, I am pairing Thibodeaux up with Allen, but I don’t think they will. I would love to see Thibodeaux go to the Jets and play for Robert Saleh; I believe that is Thibodeaux’s “best-case scenario”. He is a player that the Texans could build their entire defense around, but he is also a perfect fit in Don Martindale’s defense with the Giants. There are rumors of him falling because of his “over-confidence” which is B.S. in my opinion. I think Thibodeaux is an incredibly smart human being that is building his brand with Nike, in the meta-verse with $JREAM coin, and in the community with his JREAM foundation. Teams that are intimidated by his plan shouldn’t draft him, but the team that does draft him will be getting someone that they can build their defense around for the next decade-plus.
Strength + Power: 7/8
Bend + Flexibility: 6.25/7
Run Defender: 6.25/7
Motor + Adaptability: 6.25/7
Pass Rush Moves: 5.75/6
Get Off: 5.5/6
Final Rating: 90
Pro Comparison: Robert Quinn
Team Fits: Jets, Texans, Giants
Draft Ranking: Best Player in the Draft
Draft Projection: Top 10 Pick