With the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft over, NFL fans and analysts are already turning their attention to the 2022 draft. And one analyst is ready to declare his top player for next year.
Taking to Twitter on Friday, ESPN draft analyst Matt Miller named Oregon pass rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux as his top player for 2022. He acknowledged that a quarterback might end up emerging though and suggested that Nevada QB Carson Strong might end up being the guy.
"We’ll see which quarterback emerges (I’m a big Carson Strong fan)," Miller tweeted. "But Oregon pass rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux is my top player for next year."
Of course, if a team that doesn't need a quarterback gets that top spot, Thibodeaux could be the guy. There's plenty to like about the Oregon pass rusher.
Kayvon Thibodeaux was one of the top players in the 2019 recruiting class and promptly got the starting nod as a true freshman. He justified Oregon's faith in him, recording 35 tackles, 14.0 tackles for loss, 9.0 sacks and three passes defended in 13 games. Thibodeaux earned Pac-12 Defensive Freshman of the Year honors for his efforts.
The pandemic limited Thibodeaux to just seven games as a sophomore, but he still put together a solid season with 42 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss and 3.0 sacks with three passes defended. Thibodeaux earned First-Team All-Pac 12 honors and won the Morris Trophy.
NFL teams are always looking for elite pass rushers. If Thibodeaux's junior year eclipses what he's done in the last two, he could be the first defender off the board - if not first overall.
Who will be the No. 1 pick in the 2022 NFL Draft?