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Texans Top Target Kayvon Thibodeaux: 'I'm the Best Player in NFL Draft'

Kayvon Thibodeaux made one last impression in front of scouts before the NFL draft

Kayvon Thibodeaux isn't changing who he is for anyone. That's something the Houston Texans would have to prepare for if they elect to make him their top selection in the first round of the NFL Draft.

The Oregon defensive end has been vocal since the start of the offseason. He criticized the University of Alabama for caring more about athletics than academics. He's clapped back at those who question his work ethic and love of the sport. 

Friday might take the cake in an offseason filled with bold statements. Thibodeaux was asked at Oregon's Pro Day what was "the most ridiculous thing he’s heard" during the pre-draft process.

"That I'm not the best player in the draft," Thibodeaux said with a smile. "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." 

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Hopefully Nick Caserio and the Texans scouting department is paying attention. 

Friday was likely the biggest day of Thibodeaux's young career. Once projected to be the No. 1 player selected in the 2022 NFL Draft, the talk of him being the consensus top prospect has soured. 

The production is there. In three seasons, Thibodeaux tallied 26 tackles, 35.5 tackles for loss and 19 sacks. The problem is all off the field with his "love of the game mantra." 

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Let the critics say what they want. Thibodeaux isn't listening. His focus was impressing all 32 teams at the Moshofsky Center. While he didn't run the 40 or do reps on the bench, he posted a broad jump of 9-11  and a 20-yard shuttle of 4.34 seconds. 

“I think I did great,” Thibodeaux said. “The coaches really loved it. I got to do a lot of linebacker, a lot of D-line and it kept going. So I was able to show my stamina, my footwork, my hands, everything we put in the last 8-12 weeks to get to this point.”

The Texans were in attendance, though Caserio and coach Lovie Smith were elsewhere. Among the GMs in-person to meet with Thibodeaux were Detroit Lions' Brad Holmes, New York Giants' Joe Schoen and Seattle Seahawks' John Schneider.

The Lions, who met privately with Thibodeaux for several minutes after his workout, will have the first shot of selecting him with the No. 2 pick. The Texans would be next at No. 3, followed by New York and both No. 5 and No. 7. The Seahawks would have to hope Thibodeaux fell to the No. 9 spot. 

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The Texans are doing their homework on all the top pass rushers in the class. Last season, Houston finished bottom-five in sacks with 32. The franchise finished 31st in defending the run as well. Only defensive end Jonathan Greenard recorded more than three sacks. 

Thibodeaux said he loves the mainstream narrative and how the media is painting him in certain light. Still a consensus top 10 selection, he said the more the national media spins in web, it only "gets me more followers.”

All he can do is wait to hear his name called. It could come at No. 2 to Detroit. It could come a pick later to Houston. Thibodeaux doesn't care where he lands, he just hopes scouts are looking at the full picture. 

"It is easy to see a snippet of something because that's what media does," Thibodeaux said. "They cut stuff up and frame it how they want to. Just watch the whole tape, you will be able to see."