Kayvon Thibodeaux was a 5-star high school defensive end coming out of high school. He opted to go play at Oregon and made an impact immediately. He won Pac-12 defensive freshman of the year in 2019. He was a 2x first team All-Pac-12 selectee in 2020 and 2021. In 2021 he was a unanimous All-American. Thibodeaux is widely considered one of the best players in the 2021 draft, lets hop into the scouting report and see why.
Kayvon Thibodeaux is a physical specimen. Standing at 6’5 258lbs Thibodeaux possesses a prototypical frame for an edge rusher. Thibodeaux explodes off the ball with elite quickness and timing. Thibodeaux has shown the ability to jump the snap count and beat everyone off the ball. Thibodeaux has great play speed as well; he can get across the field in a timely manner in pursuit. He has great flexibility and bend rushing off the edge, even with a taller frame he can bend and turn the corner efficiently. Thibodeaux is long and can get great arm extension when matched up with offensive linemen. He does a good job at keeping his outside free. Thibodeaux has a great ability to convert speed to power. He has a strong upper and lower body. Upon contact with the offensive lineman he has the ability to stand them up and power through them. He has a great ability to shock and shed offensive linemen and has a good hand swipe he bullies backups and tight ends that are asked to block him 1-on-1. He displays the ability to win both inside and outside rushes. He has great balance and shows that he can avoid some chop blocks. Thibodeaux has a tenacious pass rush and great effort, giving it 100% every play both in the run and the pass. He is a good tackler and is intelligent when being read in the run game. In the run game, Thibodeaux is effective plugging up holes and controlling his gap. He is often double teamed, and shows the ability to split those double teams. Thibodeaux is still young and I expect him to continue to grow as a pass rusher.
Thibodeaux lacks many true weaknesses. First off, he would benefit by continuing to add mass this offseason, as 258lbs is on the lighter side for a true NFL defensive end. He does struggle a little bit when locked up with offensive linemen and could improve his counter moves. Thibodeaux has been asked to drop into coverage on occasion at Oregon and he struggles with that task. He is athletic enough to drop into coverage, but he looks a little lost. He struggles identifying receivers coming into his zone and doesn’t possess the skills to thrive in coverage. He was dealing with an ankle injury in the 2021 season that hindered some of his play; although he is fully healed now.
Thibodeaux is a special talent. He is extremely explosive and quick off the line. He has a great frame and he can win rushing the passer in a variety of ways. He can win with pure speed off the edge, but can also win with his strength and power. He impacts every play simply with his presence on the field. He has great athleticism and shows a good ability to shed blocks. He regularly stands up offensive linemen and pushes them around. His weaknesses are minimal and I expect him to continue to develop as a player and will be a dominant edge rusher for years to come in the NFL.