The University of the Oregon football program held its annual Pro Day this past Friday and defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux was the headliner. Most, if not all of the league was in attendance and he reportedly met with many of the teams picking in the top half of the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft after it wrapped up, including the Baltimore Ravens.
Oregon pro-day update: Kayvon Thibodeaux meeting with the New York Jets contingent this afternoon, scheduled for dinner tonight with the Baltimore Ravens. Heavy Detroit Lions presence for Thibodeaux at today's workout. More later on.— Tony Pauline (@TonyPauline) April 1, 2022
Heading into the 2021 season, Thibodeaux was projected to be the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft. However, after a strong but not spectacular or consistently dominant junior season coupled with the emergence of other top prospects at his position such as Michigan’s Aiden Hutchinson and Georgia’s Trevon Walker, that projection is unlikely to come to fruition.
He was still viewed as a sure-fire top 10 prospect at the onset and for most of the pre-draft prospect but rumors about character concerns have begun to hurt his stock according to many analysts with sources around the league. As disappointing as these recent developments are for Thibodeaux, they are likely music to the ears in the Ravens’ front office, which could be what prompted them to meet with him over dinner.
The franchise has a rich history of taking chances on players and prospects that other teams have soured on or looked over and getting the most out of them. They also have a culture that allows players and coaches to be themselves and embraces personalities of all kinds, including those that are bombastic in nature like what is being reported about Thibodeaux.
There is no doubting his obvious potential to be a game wrecker at the next level at best and a solid career starter at worst. He recorded 19 sacks, 35.5 tackles for loss, three forced fumbles, and deflected seven passes during his college career. If the Ravens are unable to re-sign veteran defensive end and six-time Pro Bowler, Calais Campbell, but Thibodeaux was to fall in their lap at No. 14 overall or within range for a reasonable trade-up scenario, it would be a huge boost for the defense.
The 21-year old would immediately improve their ability to apply pressure and rack up sacks on the edge and from the interior given his positional versatility to play both defensive end/five-technique and be a RUSH outside linebacker. He’d give the Ravens and first-year Defensive Coordinator Mike MacDonald a tremendously young and athletic defensive front seven that already features the likes of Odafe Oweh, Justin Madubuike, and Patrick Queen.