The New York Giants may find themselves in the once implausible position to select Oregon edge defender Kayvon Thibodeaux at No. 5 in the 2022 NFL Draft. Thibodeaux’s possible draft slide seems odd with the weakness near the top of the 2022 NFL Draft, and with the dearth of “proven” quarterback talent.
Questions about Thibodeaux’s fire and passion - fair or unfair - were circulating the Combine and his decision not to work out ostensibly corroborated the detractors’ theories.
Thibodeaux’s comments about the perceived University of Alabama’s educational deficiencies in a January interview with Fox Sports Draft analyst Joel Klatt were not received well; Thibodeaux expounded about Oregon, Phil Knight, and his brand post-football. This situation was an impetus for questions about Thibodeaux’s desire, and if football was his main priority.
I watched every bit of Thibodeaux tape I could find; unfortunately, there were only two games in 2021 - I never once saw him not try. He may have interests off the field, but I didn’t see him take plays off.
Thibodeaux possesses the physical makeup to be a true difference-maker in the NFL. He plays with great leverage, extension, and functional strength to hold up at the point of attack while threatening offensive linemen with speed and power. He’s a smart player with great instincts and reactionary quickness.
He’s still somewhat raw with his hand technique, albeit it progressed in 2021. Thibodeaux also loses contain while setting the edge and can be a bit undisciplined with his run responsibility; this wasn’t because of a lack of knowledge, but because he was trying to do too much and go for the tackle for a loss, instead of a tackle at the line of scrimmage.
My overall concerns with Thibodeaux seem to be correctable. I don’t find him to be the most refined player coming out of college. However, he has all the necessary traits to be excellent, and he could easily start day one. If he performed well in the Combine interviews and passed the Giants checklist in terms of personality, then he has to be in serious consideration at five. Here’s a 30-minute breakdown on the polarizing edge prospect from Oregon: