Oregon defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux was long expected to go No. 1 overall in the 2022 NFL Draft, but his name was finally called at No. 5 overall, making him a member of the Giants.
In three years in Eugene, Thibodeaux did exactly as he was recruited to do as a five-star prospect, leading the team in sacks and tackles for loss all three seasons. He finished his career with 19.0 sacks and 35.5 tackles for loss, only failing to amass double-digit TFLs in the COVID-shortened 2020 season, when he had 9.5 through seven games. He also added 14 quarterback hurries over his career, leading the team last year with 8.
In early February, Thibodeaux started to see his draft stock affected in a way not uncommon to Oregon alumni. In an interview with Bleacher Report, as reported by Paul Kasabian, ESPN’s Todd McShay spouted his opinions on the top prospect saying, “I heard a lot about Oregon defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux, including concerns that he just doesn’t play with the same fire as some other top prospects…it wouldn’t shock me if Thibodeaux fell out of the top five.”
The same concerns were placed on former first round draft picks and Oregon alumni Justin Herbert and Penei Sewell. Those concerns don’t matter much anymore as Thibodeaux has heard his name called and will head to New York for the next step of his career.