Where Kayvon Thibodeaux will be selected on Thursday night has turned into one of the great storylines ahead of the 2022 NFL Draft.
The former Oregon star spent all of last season as the favorite by PointsBet to be the #1 overall pick in 2022, and didn’t disappoint while leading the Ducks with 19 sacks in only 31 career games. He remained the favorite to go #1 until he was passed by Michigan’s Aidan Hutchinson in mid-December.
The two pass rushers were viewed as jockeying for the top spot through much of the pre-draft process before offensive tackles Evan Neal from Alabama and N.C. State’s Ikem Ekwonu entered the conversation.
That was until Georgia defensive lineman Travon Walker emerged earlier this week as the new consensus favorite to go #1.
Much of the fluctuation can be attributed to analysts trying to determine what the Jacksonville Jaguars intend to do with the top pick. They have a franchise quarterback in Trevor Lawrence, so how best do they want to build around him?
It now appears it won’t be with an edge rusher like Thibodeaux, who was compared by one Field Level Media draft analyst to the Washington Commanders’ Chase Young.
Thibodeaux’s Over/Under draft selection spot at BetMGM is now 4.5, with 58 percent of the bets and 68 percent of the handle backing the Under at -150. He is being offered at +300 to go #2 overall and +700 to go #3.
Detroit currently owns the second pick, followed in the top five by Houston, the New York Jets and New York Giants.
Hutchinson’s odds haven’t fallen quite as dramatically. He’s now +300 to go #1 but -200 to be the second name called on draft night. BetMGM is no longer offering an Over/Under on his exact draft selection spot.
How far Thibodeaux drops after the second pick promises to be one of the main storylines during the top 10.
He is viewed as a one-a-class type of athlete who comes off the edge with speed and a shocking amount of power to uproot offensive tackles. Thibodeaux is also athletic enough to drop back into coverage with running backs and get his hands up to disrupt passing lanes.
How well he can hold the edge in run defense is the primary question analysts have, and Thibodeaux will need to increase his repertoire of pass rush moves in the pros.
Thibodeaux was being offered at +700 to go #3 overall by BetMGM on Wednesday, behind LSU cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. (+200). That could mean one of the New York teams — or another team eager to move up — could snag one of the draft’s top pass rushers far lower than Thibodeaux was expected to go just weeks ago.