,I don’t think I need to convince teams of it, but that’s the media narrative. There always has to be some narrative that’s drawn. For me, I’m an LA 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. I get emotional thinking about it, because all the sacrifices it took for me to get here, I wouldn’t have made those sacrifices if I didn’t love the game. I’m blessed to be here, and I’m just happy that these teams want to talk to me, and they want to get to know me.”
That’s what Thibodeaux said during his combine media session when he was asked about the perception that he somehow doesn’t love the game. This will be part of the draft media echo chamber whether it’s true or not.
When it comes to draft evaluation, there’s what we think we know, and what we can prove. What we can prove is that Thibodeaux put up his best collegiate season in 2021, with 48 total pressures and 29 stops. Even his comment about wanting to be “Jadeveon Clowney 2.0” was frequently misrepresented. Here’s what he actually said:
“Just be relentless. You look back at Clowney, he was great, but he didn’t have all the skills and the tools as far as pass rush skills. Me, I feel like I can build off of him — I’m like Jadeveon 2.0. I feel like I have the skills and I have a hunger to keep going. And I’m gonna steal pass rush moves. If I see something I like, I’m gonna add it to my tool box.”
The Texans, who took Clowney with the first overall pick in the 2014 draft, would probably be okay with that, as they have needs… well, everywhere. As for Thibodeaux’s pre-draft coverage, we can expect a lot of weird stuff over the next couple of months. As always, the tape doesn’t lie.