The 2022 quarterback draft class may not be particularly strong. That’s why Oregon’s Kayvon Thibodeaux has been mentioned as a potential first overall pick. However, Aidan Hutchinson has recently seen his stock increase and currently sits at the top of several mocks. Hutchinson would certainly take the Jacksonville Jaguars’ pass rush to another level but they wouldn’t mind Thibodeaux falling to their lap.
Chris Trapasso of CBS Sports and Dane Brugler of The Athletic currently have Hutchinson at the top of their mock drafts and rightfully so. The Michigan standout has had a dominant season, posting 54 total tackles, 14.5 tackles for a loss, two forced fumbles, and 12 sacks. He has all the physical tools and the drive to succeed in the NFL, so even if the Detroit Lions don’t take him first overall in the 2022 draft, he’s a sure bet to go in the top 5.
Thibodeaux will mostly be a top-5 pick as well and if he isn’t taken by the Detroit Lions, the Houston Texans may want to call dibs on him. Although the California native hasn’t racked up the same numbers as Hutchinson in 2021. However, he’s played at a high level, posting 46 tackles, 11 tackles for a loss, six sacks, and two forced fumbles. Moreover, his pressure percentage is higher than Hutchinson’s.
Can the Jaguars afford to pass on Keyvon Thibodeaux?
If the Lions end up taking take Hutchinson and the Texans go quarterback at number two the Jaguars would be in a prime position to select Thibodeaux. That’s, of course, if the draft order doesn’t change in the upcoming weeks. As of this writing, Jacksonville is slated to have the third overall pick.
Now, you have to take into account that the Jags have several needs, and most of them may rank higher than edge rusher. They need a wide receiver, possibly another cornerback, or even an offensive tackle. If they have the third overall selection, they will be in the position to take cornerback Derek Stingley Jr., Ohio State wide receiver Garrett Wilson and offensive tackle Evan Neal. Coincidentally, both Trapasso and Brugler project the Jags to take Neal.
Then again, imagine how dominant the Jaguars’ pass rush could be with Thibodeaux playing opposite outside linebacker Josh Allen. Add Dawuane Smoot and maybe K’Lavon Chaisson to the equation, and the Jags pass rush could resemble that of 2019, when they had Calais Cambell, Yannick Ngakoue, and Allen terrorizing opposing quarterbacks and logged 47 sacks as a team.
The Jaguars have to upgrade several position groups next offseason, so it may not matter whom they pick as long as he becomes a difference-maker. They will have their fair share of options, including Thibodeaux.