The Jacksonville Jaguars are in a prime position to pick up an EDGE rusher with the first overall pick at this month’s NFL Draft, and that pick should be Kayvon Thibodeaux.
For much of the offseason, the Jaguars were slated to pick up Alabama’s Evan Neal, arguably the best offensive tackle prospect available. However, once the team placed the franchise tag on Cam Robinson, they afforded themselves the opportunity to go after a prospect in this year’s loaded pass rusher class. It might come down to two, maybe three options, but Oregon’s Kayvon Thibodeaux could be the best bet.
Trent Baalke was aggressive this offseason in getting quarterback Trevor Lawrence more weapons, signing Christian Kirk and Zay Jones, along with securing Robinson’s services. However, the Jaguars’ defense needs to improve across the board in Doug Pederson’s first year as head coach.
Being ranked at or near the bottom of several defensive categories, such as rushing touchdowns (29th) and red zone scoring (26th), warrants consideration for a defensive first-round pick. Oh, and as I’m sure you’re all familiar with by now, the Jaguars were ranked 32nd for total turnovers in 2022.
Thibodeaux’s physical gifts and football acumen have translated into him becoming one of the top three college prospects in 2022. It’s been made a point that he isn’t the “perfect” player, yet in all fairness, the same thing can be said about any future NFL rookie. Such a player doesn’t exist, and while Thibodeaux has his share of flaws, they are correctable with the right coaching, scheme, and, more importantly, if he’s willing to put in the work.
The popular consensus is that Michigan’s Aidan Hutchinson will be Jacksonville’s pick. Nevertheless, there are plenty of reasons to go with Thibodeaux instead.