From Oregon University, Kayvon Thibodeaux, is a student of the game to say the least. He studies steals and strategies about rushing the passer, which is slightly more unorthodox than your average pass rusher. While his method worked well in Oregon, one may ask, “Why would he stop now?”
He continues to study film of the NFL’s best pass rushers relentlessly and steal moves he’s learned and applies them. Many would-be fearful of this information being released to the public; however, Thibodeaux embraces it and openly shares it.
“I kind of steal from everybody,” reported Michael DiRocco for ESPN.”I’m a student of the game, so I don’t really have a favorite [pass-rusher in the NFL now], but I just love to kind of steal … a little bit of everybody and implement it in my game and start to keep growing.”
Where it all Started for Kayvon Thibodeaux
He started watching clips of players who were transcendent at the position on the Internet. He often watched Willie McGinest, Maxx Crosby, T.J. Watt, Demarcus Ware, Chandler Jones, and Von Miller. He admits that whenever he saw a move he liked, he’d attempt it in practice the next day. His favorite highlight among all the players he watched was Von Miller. He believes that their build and playstyles are very similar.
“If I don’t do a move, I’m going to learn how to work that move and I’m going to learn how to get better at it,” Thibodeaux said. “I’m going to implement it in practice and then I’m going to translate it to the game.”
“… I’m a guy who can take it right off the film and I can take it right to the field, so I was able to do that a lot. Literally, on most of [Miller’s] pass rushes, I took from the film to the field and it helped me tremendously.”
Kayvon Thibodeaux admits that he’s studied Miller’s footwork and body lean which ultimately helped him become a much better standup pass rusher for the Ducks this past season. He recorded seven sacks, 12 tackles for a loss, and 49 tackles, per ESPN.
Thibodeaux is Projected No.1 in the 2022 Draft
Barring Thibodeaux isn’t the biggest or fastest guy in the world, he relies primarily on strategy and film to expose the weakness of his opposition. He often refers to the game of chess when breaking down his opponents because of the constant thinking it requires. Thibodeaux enjoys being one or two moves ahead of his opponent at all times.
“I’m not the biggest guy, I’m not the strongest guy, and I’m not the fastest guy,” Thibodeaux said. “Just like Von Miller, you have to figure out what’s going to give you that edge, and for me, my mind is what gives me that edge. I’m a chess player, so thinking moves ahead. How can I set the game and dictate what the offensive tackle does so I can get what I want out of the situation?
“… I mean, you know, chess is life and chess is football. You talk about doing your first move, and your first move is going to set up your second move, right? Then you got to think of your third move ahead, so when you talk about the pass rush, I’m going to hit you with speed first. I always hit you with speed, speed, speed. And then that’s going to set up my power moves, and then my power moves are going to set up my counter.”
His Track Record
He won Pac-12 defensive freshman of the year, and he was named a unanimous All-American this past season. In 30 games, he recorded 19 sacks and 36 tackles for a loss at Oregon. Now, he’s a candidate to be the first overall selection in the upcoming NFL Draft. Many teams are in desperate need of a true pass rusher. In the NFL, pass rushers set the entire tone for the defense going forward.
“Winning a Super Bowl, getting a yellow jacket, being defensive rookie of the year is on my list of goals.”