NFL Draft: Three Top Defenders Declare for the 2022 NFL Draft
Now that the regular season is over and bowl games are all that remain, many of College Football's biggest Stars are declaring their future. Some of the newest players include defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux from Oregon, defensive end George Karlaftis from Purdue, and linebacker Nik Bonitto, from Oklahoma. What has been forecasted as a strong defensive draft is coming to fruition.
With news from Eugene, Oregon, that potential first overall pick Kayvon Thibodeaux is foregoing his remaining eligibility to enter the 2022 NFL Draft, NFL teams in need of a pass rush are salivating. Since the summer, Oregon defender from Los Angeles, California, has been at the top of draft boards. At 6'5" and just shy of 260-pounds, Thibodeaux is a physical specimen who also occupies the tools to be a successful pass rusher at the next level. He finishes his career at Oregon with 122 total tackles, 19 Sacks and three forced fumbles. The athletic presence Thibodeaux brings is a nightmare for opposing tackles on tape. Frightened by his elite get-off and bend, offensive tackles often over-set where he then attacks with inside moves and bullrushes. Hand usage and the ability to become more diverse in his rush moves will be something he looks to add in the NFL. When Thibodeaux combines refinement and his pure athleticism and power, it will only be a matter of time before his a perennial Defensive Player of the Year candidate.
Another recently announced pass rusher looking to his next chapter comes from West Lafayette, Indiana. Purdue Defensive End George Karlaftis will be taking his talents to the NFL. The 6'4" 275-pound Junior flashed his freshman year where he recorded 54 tackles, eight sacks, one interception and one forced fumble in 2019. As a stout defensive end, Karlaftis shows an extremely high motor and ability to rush with power and play the run with discipline and great recognition. Overall athleticism and elite bend may not be his strong suits, but he is a plug-and-play defender between his football IQ and size. An NFL team could be gaining an instant contributor come the spring,
Oklahoma University will be losing a game-wrecker to the NFL as Linebacker Nik Bonitto is foregoing the bowl game and focusing on preparation for the 2022 NFL Draft. The 6'3" 240-pound Junior from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, finishes his career in Norman with 117 tackles, 19 sacks, one forced fumble and one interception. Bonitto was a versatile edge defender for the Oklahoma defense. His tape shows fluidity and lateral quickness when asked to drop into coverage. He can beat tackles with his burst and solid hand usage on passing downs. Questions may arise about his frame, but with time and adherence, Bonitto will look to add power to his traits and round out a solid skillset at the NFL level.
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