Quarterbacks have gone No. 1 in the NFL Draft each of the last four years. In fact, during that stretch, 11 of the 20 top-five picks were offensive skill players, with all five picks atop the 2021 NFL Draft fitting that description.
Any thoughts here? pic.twitter.com/eeCl36t20a
— Todd McShay (@McShay13) October 27, 2021
Derek Stingley Jr., one of the major holdovers from LSU’s national title team, comes in at No. 2 in these new NFL Draft rankings, followed by Neal, Notre Dame’s dynamic safety Kyle Hamilton, and Michigan defensive end Aidan Hutchinson.
McShay sees Thibodeaux as a versatile defender who can fill multiple roles in a front seven, and is adept at defending the run as well as getting after quarterbacks. Saturday’s big performance against UCLA left a big impression.
Thibodeaux is a phenomenal pass-rusher with great speed and size. He gets a good push on blockers, and he shows solid initial quickness and closing speed. Thibodeaux is effective dipping-and-ripping, but he also displays a strong inside move. Against the run, he locates the ball and then stacks and sheds blockers, often making plays in the backfield. He could use a little more work as a hands fighter, but there is no doubt that he is the top edge prospect in the class. Through five games, he has 4.0 sacks, 7.5 tackles for loss and a pair of forced fumbles. Thibodeaux showed just how dominant he can be in Saturday’s win against UCLA, posting 2.0 sacks, 4.5 tackles for loss, a forced fumble and a QB hurry. Lastly, he is versatile enough to convert to 3-4 outside linebacker or even occasionally kick inside to rush the passer.
For McShay’s full rankings, head to ESPN.