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NFL Draft Profile: Kayvon Thibodeaux, Defensive End, Oregon Ducks

NFL Draft profile scouting report for Oregon defensive end, Kayvon Thibodeaux

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#5
Pos: DE
Ht: 6040
Wt: 254
Hands: 0968
Arms: 3318
Wingspan: 7948
40: 4.58
Bench: 27
DOB: 12/15/00
Eligible: 2022
Los Angeles, CA
Dorsey High School

Kayvon Thibodeaux 
Oregon Ducks


One-Liners

Long defensive end who can win on a speed track, with power and with his inside counter. Thibodeaux projects as a year-one quality starter and can develop into a perennial pro bowler.

Pros:

Each draft class has at least one highly-anticipated prospect that has thrived under a microscope since their freshman year. Kayvon Thibodeaux is one such prospect who has been considered a future first-overall pick contender since his debut college season. The Oregon star’s game is predicated on his incredible athleticism. Thibodeaux boasts excellent burst, change of direction and long speed. His first step makes him a threat to reach his opponents’ chests on every play. What’s more, Thibodeaux has an extremely flexible frame. He exhibits impressive bend and balance to work the outside track. Moreover, the talented pass rusher primarily employs his long arms to enhance his power-rush profile. The All-American consistently initiates contact to an offensive lineman’s frame with accurate and active hands upon initial contact. Thibodeaux’s use of leverage and leg drive to maximize his already notable functional strength makes him a viable threat to walk through any blocker. The Oregon defensive end’s go-to move is his speed-to-power conversion. He has heavy hands to noticeably displace linemen upon engagement and routinely drives his opponents back into the pocket. Thibodeaux’s power profile helps make him an NFL-ready run defender. The defensive lineman stacks, windows and sheds blockers seemingly at will. He regularly controls his opponents and works through them to the tackle point. Thibodeaux also boasts a strong anchor, sound gap discipline, patience, vision and awareness against the run.

Cons:

While the Oregon star’s upside will place him firmly in the conversation among the top prospects in the 2022 class, he is a somewhat raw prospect who wins off of his athleticism. Thibodeaux’s greatest weakness is, by far, his one-track pass-rush plan. He overuses his speed-to-power move and rarely mixes in hand moves or speed rushes. Similarly, he enters full-man engagement often and willingly. At times, Thibodeaux plays high or leads with his shoulder and gives up his chest. This leads to a decrease in functional power. What’s more, the star pass rusher tends to shoot his hands late which further allows contact to his frame. When attacking the outside track, the Oregon defender currently works too far upfield and takes wide angles to engagement. Further, Thibodeaux must learn to complement his bend with hand moves. While a simple dip-rip move will work at times at the next level, NFL offensive linemen will analyze and adapt to his uniform attack plans. Additionally, the talented defender should learn to properly address soft inside shoulders when his opponents present them. Against the run, Thibodeaux occasionally penetrates early and abandons his gap. Finally, the high-profile pass-rusher has a thin frame that can be filled out.Opponents that can counter his length may surprise Thibodeaux as they can latch on at extension. He does not locate rushers quickly enough, allowing them to bounce runs. When having to tackle in space, he can get juked. His hands and pads tend to be too high early in games. He is a below-average finisher, repeatedly missing on the quarterback. When planting his second step, he has a wasted movement to get upright, slightly slowing him down.

Summary:

Long defensive end with great explosiveness and active hands. Thibodeaux is a high effort rusher and run defender who can get home with speed, power and inside counters. Minor technical flaws in terms of pad level and wasted movement can be ironed out with more experience. Thibodeaux projects as a year-one quality starter at defensive end who will likely develop into a pro bowl caliber player and can be a difference-maker for years to come.

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Background:

Born December 15th, Kayvon Thibodeaux grew up in Los Angeles, California. The talented pass rusher began his football career at Dorsey High School. As a sophomore, he was named the CIF Los Angeles City Section Division I Defensive Lineman of the Year. Before his junior year, the star defensive lineman transferred to Oaks Christian High School in Thousand Oaks, California. During his time in his new school, Thibodeaux amassed a variety of awards and honors. As a junior, he was named Marmonte League co-MVP, CIF Southern Section Division 2 co-Defensive Player of the Year, Ventura Country Star’s Defensive Player of the Year and Los Angeles Daily News’ Player of the Year. After his senior year, Thibodeaux added to his already staggering list of accomplishments. The superstar defensive lineman was awarded Marmonte League Co-Player of the Year, All-CIF Southern Section Division 1, first-team Daily News all-area; he was also made a member of the Los Angeles Times All-Star Team. Further, Thibodeaux was named Defensive Player of the Year in the state of California by USA Today, first-team All-California by USA Today, first-team All-America by MaxPreps and was listed on the PrepStar Top 150 Dream Team. The star defender was, moreover, invited to the inaugural Pro Football Hall of Fame World Bowl. Additionally, he participated in the 2019 Under Armour All-American Game and was a co-captain for Team Sanders. Thibodeaux was a finalist for ALL-USA Defensive Player of the Year and Bobby Dodd National Lineman of the Year. In recognition of his stellar high school career, 247Sports Composite Rankings listed the California native as a five-star recruit, the second-overall recruit in the country, the second-ranked weak-side defensive end in his class, and the best recruit in the state of California. The service also named him the 49th-best recruit of all time. Thibodeaux was an instant-impact player at the University of Oregon. As a freshman, the Ducks’ standout received Coaches Pac-12 All-Conference honorable mention and Coaches Pac-12 Freshman Defensive Player of the Year. He was also named to the PFF All-Pac-12 second team, AP Pac-12 All-Conference first team, 247Sports True Freshman All-America team, USA TODAY Freshman All-America team, The Athletic Freshman All-America first team, FWAA Freshman All-America team. Thibodeaux continued his impressive career in 2020, earning the Morris Trophy and being named to the Phil Steele Pac-12 All-Conference first team, Coaches Pac-12 All-Conference first team, AP Pac-12 All-Conference first team, AP All-America third team, Phil Steele All-America second team, The Athletic All-America second team and FWAA All-America second team.


Grades

Current Player Value/Potential Player Value

1st Round

03/06/22 -- Actions speak louder than words. Or do they? For Oregon defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux, the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine left many observers scratching their heads. The current number one player on the NFL Draft Bible big board entered Indianapolis with questions surrounding his motor and competitiveness, which he addressed during his media session earlier in the week. “I’m not really too worried about what people have to say as far as that,” Thibodeaux stated, “As long as the teams and I can come to an understanding of who I am and how hard [I play] and the love I have for the game.” “I think the biggest thing I want to articulate to teams is that I’m really a student of the game. I really love this game. This is something that has done a lot for me. Football has taught me a lot. It’s helped me grow a lot through my life, and it’ll be there until the day I die.” Those types of responses left many in anticipation that Thibodeaux would fully participate in all combine drills, in order to put some of those whispers to rest. The unanimous All-American seemed off to a great start in hushing his critics, officially timing 4.58 in the forty-yard dash and posting 27 bench press reps of 225—outstanding numbers after measuring in at 6-foot-4, 260 pounds. With that combination of size, strength and speed, he appeared to be well on his back into consideration as the top overall pick. Instead, he exited stage left and packed it up for the day. The move shocked many, including NFL Network analyst Willie McGinest, who shares the same Los Angeles roots and has worked with Thibodeaux in the past. McGinest admitted on-air that he was surprised by the decision and questioned the Ducks superstar on the spot. “He wants to do defensive line drills and linebacker drills all in one day and get it over with,” Thibodeaux informed the three-time Super Bowl Champion, something he could have easily done at the combine. Now, the lackadaisical perception will follow him to his pro day on April 1st and NFL teams will not be fooling around with expectations for him to perform. In the meantime, Thibodeaux departs the ‘Crescent City’ with more questions than answers about his love for the game. “When you talk about fire, when you talk about passion, I think you can’t really explain it,” he declared. “I get emotional thinking about it, because all the sacrifices it took for me to get here, I wouldn’t have made those sacrifices if I didn’t love the game.” “I don’t think I need to convince teams of it but that’s the media narrative.” Some strong words, which unfortunately fell on deaf ears to NFL decision-makers. Someone needs to tell ‘The Chosen One,’ that it’s time for less talk and more action.

Quotes:

"The most ridiculous thing I've heard is that I'm not the best player in this draft. I really don't listen to anything else but that to me, that's outrageous. With the film, with the numbers and what I can do as far as my ability, I have confidence in what I can do." -- Kayvon Thibodeaux