Narratives are manufactured to orchestrate reaches and steals in the NFL Draft every offseason. Whether that result be intentional or not, the associated narratives often hold little validity.
Here’s what people are saying about Kayvon Thibodeaux, one of Our Beloved Ducks’ best and brightest.
Thibodeaux’s “Character Issues”
This is the most dumbfounding narrative to me. Since he has interests outside of football, his character is in question? Does that really convert to lacking play on the field, a fire inside that’s been extinguished, so to speak? Thibodeaux is a leader, a dominant edge rusher, and already has his sights set on a championship. There’s zero reason to question his commitment to football. The unfortunate truth, though, is there are several comparable situations that have occurred over the years.
An almost mirrored situation I can draw comparison to pre-draft character were questions about Myles Garrett coming out of Texas A&M, who had the same stories come up before the 2017 NFL Draft. Granted, they were more so questioning his maturity rather than commitment to football. Still, remember how he turned out.
Is This Truly Just Strategy?
There are several players in college where maturity is an evident issue. In those instances, they are well founded gripes to have about a player that could lead your franchise. However, whenever these sort of stories come up about top players with virtually no evidence, you have to think it must be strategy. Perhaps teams in the middle of the draft sprouting rumors to push a top prospect down to their position (for those still in doubt, see Micah Parsons)
Who Does Thibodeaux Compare to in Today’s NFL?
Thibodeaux has the prototypical size and speed to be able to produce as a true defensive end, but could be incorporated into a hybrid outside linebacker role on the right team. In terms of scheme fit, he reminds me a great deal of the Jacksonville Jaguars Josh Allen (the other Josh Allen), as well as the Carolina Panthers’ Brian Burns.
Burns came in at around 240 as a rookie, but that was after bulking up in the offseason to prepare for the draft. Allen is almost identical in size, as well as how they tested at the combine. However, I think the elite athleticism that Thibodeaux converts to rushing the passer already at only 21 years of age will allow him to make the bigger leap in year one of his professional career.
At the end of the day, I see Thibodeaux off the board by the time Carolina’s on the clock. Where do you expect Thibodeaux to land? What do you make of the comments that have surfaced about him through this draft process so far? Is there any validity to the claims?
Los Angeles, California
Top Photo By: Eugene Johnson
Alex Heining is an Oregon alumni from the graduate class of 2021. After studying sports business and media studies, he has moved into the field of digital marketing as a copywriter and content manager in the Los Angeles area. Still, he loves his Ducks and goes to local high school games all over the Los Angeles and Orange County area to check out new recruits of the future (and a SoFi game or two with the pros). On any given Saturday, expect to find him doing martial arts, playing the guitar, or screaming at the tv over a missed holding penalty.
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