The Detroit Lions want to see more of Oregon’s edge defender Kayvon Thibodeaux.
After showing up en masse to his pro day last week—and even spending some time off to the side to talk to the projected top-10 pick—the Lions will reportedly host Thibodeaux for a “top-30” visit next week, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. Thibodeaux has also met with a couple other teams with high picks (Texans at 3 and Eagles at 15/18).
The Lions have already done a lot of homework on Thibodeaux. In addition to their contingent of staff at the pro day last week, Lions general manager Brad Holmes also attended the Oregon vs. UCLA game while the Lions were in town for their game against the Los Angeles Rams. In that game, Thibodeaux racked up a season-high 4.5 tackles for loss including 2.0 sacks.
Last week at the NFL owners meetings, Holmes said he was looking for a game-changer with the second overall pick.
“I’ve always said we want a game-changer at that pick,” Holmes said. “So whatever position that is, again, we’re comfortable at multiple positions. If the draft was today, we could turn in that card and sleep good at night, but at the end of the day, we’re looking for that game-changer.”
Thibodeaux could very well be that game-changer the Lions need. Not only does he play a premium position in today’s NFL, but his statistical output was amongst the best in this year’s draft class.
The top 2022 edge rushers in pass rush snaps leading to a “win” per @PFF_College:
Kayvon Thibodeaux: 37.1%
Aidan Hutchinson: 37.0%
Arnold Ebiketie: 34.7%
George Karlaftis: 28.3%
David Ojabo: 28.0%
Boye Mafe: 24.7%
Jermaine Johnson: 19.8%
Travon Walker: 13.8%
— Hayden Winks (@HaydenWinks) April 5, 2022
Last year, the Lions ranked near the bottom in just about every pass rush statistic. They ranked 29th in pressure percentage, 30th in sacks, and 29th in PFF’s team pass rush grade. Thibodeaux, plus the potential return of Romeo Okwara from injury, could boost those stats in a hurry.
In addition to Thibodeaux, the Lions are also reportedly hosting Georgia defenders Travon Walker and Nakobe Dean for visits later this month.