2022 NFL Draft: Oregon’s Kayvon Thibodeaux says he’s the best player in this class

Andy Nelson via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Not long ago, Oregon pass-rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux was considered to be the consensus No. 1 overall pick in NFL mock drafts. Now, it’s Michigan pass-rusher Aidan Hutchinson who has taken his place as the player most likely to hear his name called first later this month in the 2022 NFL Draft.

According to Caesars Sportsbook, Hutchinson is currently -220 to go No. 1 overall while Thibodeaux has the sixth-shortest odds at +2500. All five of our CBS Sports NFL Draft experts have Hutchinson going No. 1 overall to the Jacksonville Jaguars in their most recent mock drafts, while their opinions on Thibodeaux are split. Kyle Stackpole has the Oregon product going No. 2 overall to the Detroit Lions, while Ryan Wilson has him falling to the Baltimore Ravens at No. 14 overall.

Representatives from all 32 NFL teams were present in Eugene for Oregon’s Pro Day this week, and Thibodeaux was the main attraction. When he was asked for the most ridiculous thing he had heard in the pre-draft process, the 6-foot-4, 254-pound quarterback nightmare took the opportunity to showcase his confidence. 

“The most ridiculous thing I’ve heard is that I’m not the best player in this draft,” Thibodeaux said, via the Eugene Register-Guard. “I really don’t listen to anything else, but that to me, that’s outrageous.

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“With the film, with the numbers and what I can do as far as my ability, I have confidence in what I can do.”

Thibodeaux recorded a career-high 49 total tackles, 12 tackles for loss and seven sacks in 10 games played for the Ducks in 2021. His 34.5 career tackles for loss ranked fifth-most among active Power Five players since the start of 2019, and he was the first Oregon defensive lineman to earn All-America status since DeForest Buckner in 2015, per Oregon’s official website. 

Thibodeaux is a pass-rusher that has all the traits necessary to be a star at the next level. He’s explosive off the snap and has an arsenal of pass-rushing moves that give him the upper hand against some tackles. Despite where he’s projected to go, Thibodeaux is CBS Sports’ No. 2-ranked player in this draft behind Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton. Thibodeaux would tell you that ranking is too low. 


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