When the New York Jets won a few seemingly meaningless games in the second half of the 2021 season many folks assumed that took them out of the running for one of the top pass rushers in the 2022 NFL draft.
In the wise words of Lee Corso, “not so fast my friends.”
The buildup to the draft can be a funny thing and prospects routinely rise and fall down the boards. Although one of the names that saw his stock affected shocked the draft community.
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A Stunning Revelation
The first-mile marker of the draft calendar has come and gone with the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama coming to a close.
Coming off of the annual all-star game, draft analyst Todd McShay and NFL insider Jeremy Fowler combined their powers to share all the latest buzz in a juicy ESPN column.
The most shocking nugget in the story was the surprising fall of Oregon defensive lineman Kayvon Thibodeaux.
McShay said that he has heard concerns from NFL people that “he doesn’t play with the same fire” as some of the other top prospects in this class.
While his ceiling is considered extremely high, “the floor is lower than what you want for a top-five pick.”
McShay added that after having a handful of conversations “it wouldn’t shock” him to see the talented pass rusher fall out of the top five.
The Jets hold two first-rounders in the upcoming draft at No. 4 and No. 10 overall respectively.
Thibodeaux responded on Twitter to McShay’s column over the weekend:
A Classic Case of the Draft Blues
Unfortunately for those who are familiar with the draft season, we see this sort of thing transpire every year.
In the draft community, they call it “over analyzation” or draft boredom.
When a player like Thibodeaux is in the spotlight for as long as he has been, he gets over scrutinized more than a typical prospect and people try to find things wrong with him.
He is a former five-star recruit out of high school, was ranked as the second-best overall player in the 2019 recruiting class, and 247 Sports listed him as the 49th best player in the history of their high school ranking system, per Pro Football Network.
In other words, Thibodeaux has been a very good player for a long time and everyone has known the NFL destiny that has awaited him.
It is up to general manager Joe Douglas to make sure he does his homework on every part of Thibodeaux’s background as a player, off the field, and what drives him.
During the college football season, there was a very real conversation about the former Oregon star potentially being the No. 1 overall pick in this draft class. Now the most recent buzz could drop him down the draft board, but there is a floor to his stock.
It would be very hard to imagine the Jets, considering their massive need for pass-rush help, passing on the unbelievable potential of the 21-year-old budding star.
Thibodeaux possesses an incredible frame at 6-foot-5 and weighing over 250 pounds. On top of the measurables he has the production to back it up:
- 19 sacks
- 35.5 tackles for loss
- Over 126 combined tackles
To add some more context, NFL analyst Oliver Hodgkinson shared some insight on the talented player:
“The combination of agility and speed gives him a clear advantage in rushing off the edge. Yet, he can also effortlessly transition from attacking outside to winning inside, possessing pass-rush versatility.
For as impressive as his pass-rush potential at the next level is, Thibodeaux also dominates in the ground game.
The Thibodeaux plays hard on 100% of the plays, 100% of the games.
Off the field, he appears to be a highly intelligent, driven, and motivated individual. He has spoken at length =about using his platform to help support his local neighborhood of South Central Los Angeles.”
The Jets haven’t had a pass rusher that opponents had to gameplan around since John Abraham. If you could pair Thibodeaux with a healthy Carl Lawson, that completely changes the outlook of the 2022 defense for the Jets.
Everything happens for a reason and if the former Ducks stock is truly falling that could be the perfect scenario to deliver him to the Jets. Sometimes in life, you have to risk it to get the biscuit and Thibodeaux is a player worth risking the No. 4 overall pick on.