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Is Kayvon Thibodeaux the Jets’ Pass Rusher of the Future?

The Jets should try and draft Oregon edge rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux in the 2022 NFL draft because he could be as good in New York as Hall of Famer Lawrence Taylor.

With the Jets currently holding the third overall pick in the 2022 NFL draft, it is very possible Oregon’s EDGE Kayvon Thibodeaux could fall to them.

It is possible because Detroit and Houston sitting at No. 1 and No. 2 respectively need quarterbacks.

I have seen enough to say that Thibodeaux is worth a top-5 pick. It takes a lot to impress me, but I am impressed.

Thibodeaux would be the most dominant pass rusher anyone in New York has seen since Lawrence Taylor (LT) played for the Giants.

Now, I am not a saying he is LT or even the next LT, but I am saying he would be the most disruptive pass rusher anyone has seen in New York since LT.

Thibodeaux does not have the same relentless motor or arsenal of pass rushing moves as LT had, but outside of that, he has what it takes.

Projecting talent from the college level to the NFL is about more than height, weight and speed. It is not just about pro days and running around those little orange cones either.

It is about what does the guy actually look like on game film and is he capable of being a consistent difference maker on a winning team.

Can Thibodeaux do that?

The answer is yes.

Thibodeaux is all that as a pass-rusher and he is so-so against the run. He tends to get more pressure than sacks, but he is someone opposing offenses must be aware of where he is on every snap, he is that disruptive.

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Nobody has said that about anyone in New York since LT.

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This guy makes Dallas’ first rounder Micah Parsons’ look like he came out of a gum ball machine. Thibodeaux has the kind of power at the point of attack Parsons can only dream about.

#5 Kayvon Thibodeaux 6-foot-5, 258 pounds

40-yard dash time: 4.7

Games reviewed in 2021: CAL, UCLA, Washington State and Washington

Grade: First round (Top 5)

NFL Comparable: Khalil Mack

Scouting Report

Physically strong and athletic pass-rusher who uses his hands well to be consistently disruptive. Oregon likes to move him around a lot along the defensive line. Lines up standing up or with his hand down in the dirt. Relies on brute power, speed, hands and burst into the pocket to win. Draws double-teams. Raw in terms of pass-rushing arsenal of moves. Above average hip flexibility, can struggle making quick adjustments in the pocket. He has not shown rip, spin, swim moves. He has the necessary power to bull rush and put offensive linemen on skates. Best pass rush technique is slipping into inside gaps and powering inward. He is a force to be reckoned with. Mean enough demeanor. Has enough quickness and pure speed to win through the back door. Can cave man around the edge and close with the kill shot. He does get hung out to dry on the perimeter enough to mention. He is not all-out on every play. He is not a machine, but he does bring it 70-80 percent of the time. Against the run he has more of an indirect effect by freeing up other defenders. Tends to play perimeter contain, but shows he can crash down inside and get involved. Rock solid wrapping tackler. Has enough power to play the run from the outside. Not nearly as dominant against the run as he is against the pass. Athletic enough and has enough speed and range to play sideline to sideline and he is able to drop effectively into coverage and look the part. Projects best to stand up pass rushing linebacker in 4-3 or 3-4.

If there is a concern it is his career stats at Oregon. He is averaging 36 tackles and 6 sacks a season to date (three years) against college competition. The level of competition in the NFL will be much steeper. His stats are not matching his ability.

As someone who has scouted for the Jets, I can say Thibodeaux would be the most gifted playmaker they have had since safety Jamal Adams, and he would instantly be the best player on this defense. Outside of a pure lock down corner, selecting Thibodeaux would be the best thing Jets’ general manager Joe Douglas could do to improve this defense.

If only Thibodeaux had a higher motor and all the pass rush moves, and was more active and productive against the run …

But then again, there is only one LT.

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