The 2022 NFL Draft features multiple polarizing prospects, including Kayvon Thibodeaux. There’s no consensus on the Oregon Ducks standout. Some analysts are incredibly high on him, while others see red flags that could cause him to slide down draft boards.
Thibodeaux enjoyed a highly productive college football career, but there’s still debate surrounding how high NFL teams should be willing to take him. The Consensus All-American’s trainer, Travelle Gaines, argues it’s not up for debate who’s the best player in the upcoming class. And he’s dead serious.
Kayvon Thibodeaux’s trainer argues he should be the No. 1 pick in 2022 NFL Draft
Depending on who you ask, you might get a different ranking. However, Kayvon Thibodeaux is undoubtedly one of the 10 most talented NFL draft prospects.
There’s a lot to like about the Oregon product, from his elite size and athleticism to his on-field dominance to his swagger. Still, some question whether he’s good enough to be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Travelle Gaines is one of the most well-respected trainers on the West Coast. He’s worked with several notable athletes, including Antonio Brown, Draymond Green, Lonzo Ball, and Jimmy Butler. He also trains Thibodeaux and speaks very highly of the 21-year-old.
During a recent appearance on Getcha Popcorn Ready with T.O. and Hatch, Gaines weighed in on where the Ducks edge rusher ranks among the new crop of prospects.
“He’s been with us since his sophomore year of high school,” said Gaines. “Top 5 is being disrespectful, man. Kayvon is the No. 1 overall pick. No. 1 overall pick, period.”
Gaines Facetimed Thibodeaux personally. Terrell Owens and Matthew Hatchette asked the draft hopeful if he thought he should be the top pick.
“Don’t ask questions you know the answer to, man,” Thibodeaux said. “That’s making me feel like you think it’s some scrubs that can hang with me.”
Some analysts believe the Oregon edge rusher has red flags
Travelle Gaines thinks the world of Kayvon Thibodeaux’s talent. He’s been around him since his playing days at Oaks Christian School.
Thibodeaux echoed Gaines’ strong feelings about his game. However, not everyone is buying that the 6-foot-5, 250-pound defensive end is the best player in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Some NFL draft analysts believe Thibodeaux is sliding down the boards of some of the teams picking at the top. NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah suggested some guys at his position could leapfrog him in the pecking order.
Concerns exist surrounding Thibodeaux’s work ethic. Jeremiah added that he saw the pass rusher take some plays off on film. He also took issue with him abruptly cutting his time at the Scouting Combine short.
The All-American suggests he doesn’t care about most of the noise, but one thing bothers him. “The most ridiculous thing I’ve heard is that I’m not the best player in this draft,” he said per The Register-Guard‘s Antwan Staley.
Well, Thibodeaux will get his opportunity to go out there and prove it.
Ideal landing spots to maximize Thibodeaux’s potential
Kayvon Thibodeaux appears to be the total package from a football perspective. He has ideal size to go along with his elite athleticism and explosiveness. He recorded 126 tackles, 35.5 tackles for loss, 19 sacks, seven passes defended, and three forced fumbles in 30 games at Oregon.
The NFL is a passing league, meaning pass rushers are at a premium. You can debate who the most skilled at the position is — Thibodeaux, Aidan Hutchinson, or Travon Walker. However, the consensus seems to be that the Ducks star won’t go No. 1 overall at this point.
Falling out of the top five could pay off for the young edge rusher in the long run, though. He needs to go to an organization that believes in him and has the people in place to maximize his potential.
The New York Giants and Carolina Panthers stand out in the first 10 picks. New York is a big market, and Thibodeaux wants to build his brand. He also would get to work under former Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Wink Martindale. The Panthers have some promising pieces on defense, including fellow edge rusher Brian Burns.
A team outside of the top 10 to watch is the Ravens at No. 14 overall. They have a winning culture and could provide stability for the young star.
Kayvon Thibodeaux’s upside is undeniable, but situation matters in the NFL.
All stats courtesy of College Football Reference