Kayvon Thibodeaux was in a New York state of mind on the eve of the 2022 NFL Draft.
The Oregon star left no doubt Wednesday where he is hoping to land, whether it’s with the Jets (who hold picks No. 4 and No. 10) or with the Giants (who hold picks No. 5 and No. 7). Edge rusher is near the top of both teams’ wish lists.
“That’s the biggest stage, that’s primetime,” Thibodeaux told SNY and other reporters from Las Vegas, where the draft’s first round begins at 8 p.m. Thursday. “I’m ready. I’m excited. I don’t want to get no hopes up. I’ll be grateful to go anywhere, but that would be fun.”
The Jets and Giants both did plenty of homework on Thibodeaux, including reportedly bringing him to their New Jersey-based facilities for visits. The consensus No. 1 overall pick in mock drafts in October has slipped into a group of four edges who could be top-10 picks, with Michigan’s Aidan Hutchinson, Georgia’s Travon Walker and Florida State’s Jermaine Johnson.
“New York is my second home,” said Thibodeaux, who was raised in Los Angeles. “It’s LA, but it was first. It’s a different Feng shui, it’s a different vibe. The people, they’re hungry. The ambition, the want-to, the drive.”
The primary pre-draft knocks regarding the 6-foot-5, 258-pound Thibodeaux are that he might not have a true position – his best pass-rush production came on the interior line, but he is too light to play anywhere but edge in the NFL – and that he might be more interested in stardom than football. So, why is he the right fit for New York?
“C’mon,” Thibodeaux said. “I think my business savvy is the perfect fit. I think my gregariousness is the perfect fit. I think my hunger for knowledge is the perfect fit.”