NFL Coach After Meeting Kayvon Thibodeaux: 'S--t, This Guy Is a Handful'

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVApril 25, 2022

Oregon edge Kayvon Thibodeaux participates in a drill during Oregon's NFL Pro Day, Friday, April 1, 2022, in Eugene, Ore. (AP Photo/Andy Nelson)
AP Photo/Andy Nelson

Word to the wise: If you don't like larger-than-life personalities, don't draft Oregon defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux. 

"He’s a big personality. If you’re a team that isn’t comfortable with one player pushing himself into the spotlight, he’s probably not for you," one defensive coach told Bruce Feldman of The Athletic. "The issues to me are gonna come up with the competing focus. Is he too worried about his brand? When we brought him in, I was like, whoa, s--t, this guy is a handful.

It seems Thibodeaux has become this draft's most scrutinized prospect from a personality standpoint. The Oregon defensive end has zero history of off-field issues, but the concerns seemingly stem from the usual group of predraft buzzwords. His work ethic, motor and focus have all come into question despite Thibodeaux having a wildly productive college career.

Thibodeaux was a consensus All-American in 2021 and a first-team All-Pac-12 selection each of the last two years. He has the combination of size and explosive burst off the line that typically translates to NFL stardom. There are few, if any, glaring holes in his on-field game.

“I don’t think I need to convince teams [that I love football],” Thibodeaux told Kaelen Jones of The Ringer. “But that’s the media narrative. There always has to be some narrative that’s drawn. For me, I’m an L.A. kid and if you know the adversity I went through to get here, and the things that I had to sacrifice, and the things my mother had to sacrifice for me to be here, you’d really understand how I feel in my heart. When you talk about fire, when you talk about passion, I think you can’t really explain it.”

Big personalities have thrived in the NFL since its inception. Deion Sanders, Michael Strahan and Aaron Donald aren't exactly known to be demure. 

If Thibodeaux performs well on the field, any concerns about his personality will wash away by Week 1.