Oregon’s Kayvon Thibodeaux tackles misinformation, reads fictional drafts, and is best-dressed in the draft
Thibodeaux is confident his talks with the team have helped clear any lingering doubts. He met nearly every team during the pre-draft process and had private top-30 visits with the Detroit Lions (No. 2 pick), Houston Texans (No. 3), Jets New York (#4 & #10), New York Giants (#5 & #7), and Philadelphia Eagles (#15 & #18). The Atlanta Falcons (No. 8) also traveled to visit him in Los Angeles. Thibodeaux’s camp is confident he won’t break out of the top 10 and could reach No. 2 with Detroit.
He said he explained who he was to the teams, preferring to build a new relationship rather than one based on assumptions and assured them that “when you meet me, there is no curve. What you see is what you are going to get.”
A senior NFL executive told NFL Network he listed Thibodeaux as one of his top five prospects and had little concern for off-field character. This executive noted that he believes it was the same overthinking that led to Micah Parsons dropping out of the top 10 last year.
According to Next Gen Stats, Thibodeaux is tied for the third-highest overall draft score among top prospects over the past five drafts. Thibodeaux, who finished 2021 with 12 tackles for loss and seven sacks in 10 games, was Oregon’s first All-American since DeForest Buckner in 2015.
Despite his contempt for how he’s been characterized by some in the drafting process, he admits he enjoys consuming one aspect of pre-draft content: fake drafts.
“Yeah, I read fake drafts. All the time. It’s just entertainment,” he said. “I don’t think any of the fictional drafts mean anything. I’m just curious to know what it is.”
Many recent fictional drafts have landed Thibodeaux in New York — the Giants and Jets each have two top-10 picks. Thibodeaux is aware of what the New York market can do for his exposure and all the pressure it can present, especially if success is not immediate. But he is happy about it.
“It would be stupid to go to New York. I would be happy to play honestly for either team if they chose me,” Thibodeaux said. “But I pulled my chips, my preferences a while ago. I’m just ready to see where I end up.”
No matter where Thibodeaux ends up on Thursday, he is already at peace. He refuses to let the buzz that Georgia’s Travon Walker and Michigan’s Aidan Hutchinson should be the top two passers on the board bother him, stating clearly that he wants them both to be in the best possible position to succeed, and he won’t use it as a chip on his shoulder if that happens, because “I have no external motivation”.
Thibodeaux also says he’s spent this offseason working to “take my moves to the next level. I’m working on four to five moves. I’m just making sure I have a diverse skill set for the NFL.”
He says he wants to be big and doesn’t care if your perception is different.
“Thursday night, I’ll be better dressed. When my name is called, I’m going to party with my family. We’ll probably cry and I’ll dance my dance when I cross the stage,” Thibodeaux said. “I’m gonna hit the dance that I’m feeling right now. It’s gonna be a great night.”