It’s official, Oregon defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux has declared for the 2022 NFL Draft and the Jacksonville Jaguars are going to have a realistic shot to land the 2020 First-Team All-Pac 12 selection.
Thibodeaux announced his intention to skip the Valero Alamo Bowl Game and declare for next year’s draft on social media. Over the last three seasons, he appeared in 30 games and logged 84 total tackles, 35.5 tackles of a loss, and 19 sacks. The California native was slowed down by an ankle injury in 2021, which explains why he may not have been as dominant as he was in previous years. Nevertheless, he’s a sure bet to be one a top 5 pick.
The Jaguars currently have a 2-10 record and will likely land a high first-round selection. This will leave them in a position to take either Aidan Hutchison or Thibodeaux. The former has seen his draft stock soar after a dominant 2021 campaign but Thibodeaux is a worthy pick as well. In fact, he was seen as a potential first overall selection not long ago. The fact that this is not a particularly strong quarterback class will move up both Hutchison and Thibodeaux move up boards.
Here’s Thibodeaux’s announcement:
Kayvon Thibodeaux will be one of many options for the Jaguars.
The Jags currently hold the second overall pick in the 2022 draft and have a realistic shot to land the first overall after the Detroit Lions stunned the Minnesota Vikings in Week 13. While Jacksonville could win a few more games in the remainder of the season, their draft position isn’t going to change much and they are going to end up with a selection within the top 5.
There’s no doubt Thibodeaux and Hutchinson would give a significant boost to the Jaguars’ pass rush but the team has so many needs that they may pass on both prospects. Several mock drafts project the to take offensive line Even Neal and it wouldn’t be a bad selection at all. They are also lacking a bonafide number one receiver and they are going to be in a position to take Garrett Wilson of Ohio State.
Another alternative is to trade down in the draft for a boatload of picks to address more than one need. After all, you don’t end up a high pick because you have a talented roster and the Jaguars must build around Trevor Lawrence and surround him with difference-makers. Having more picks would give Jacksonville the opportunity to acquire more players. On the other hand, the Jags can’t afford to overthink themselves and outsmart themselves if they think Thibodeaux or Hutchinson are the best players available when they’re on the clock.
The Jaguars previous regime failed to find talent early in the draft even though they held a top-10 pick more often than not. Head coach Urban Meyer and general manager Trent Baalke must reverse the trend and find a playmaker that can take over games in next year’s draft. If Thibodeaux is that player, take him.