Oregon pass rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux, a potential No. 2 overall pick for the Detroit Lions, withdrew early from the NFL Combine. His reason?
Well, according to the NFL Network, it was because “how long the day was.” Of course, Thibodeaux’s day wasn’t any longer than anyone else’s, but that seemingly is neither here nor there.
Cutting out early may not have hurt Thibodeaux’s cause, though, as Kyle Meinke of Michigan Live wrote.
“Because before Thibodeaux packed his bags, he ripped off a time of 4.58 seconds in the 40-yard dash, which is excellent for a 6-foot-4, 254-pound defensive lineman,” Meinke noted. “And the 10-second split came in at a lightning-quick 1.59 seconds, which is elite. He also did 27 reps in the bench press.”
Thibodeaux will undoubtedly be a top-10 pick next month, likely a top five, and still would be in play for second overall.
“But Thibodeaux has also been dogged by questions about his commitment to football, which could make him an ill-fit for Dan Campbell in Detroit,” Meinke wrote.
Thibodeaux, for his part, has pooh-poohed such talk.
“I don’t think I necessarily have to convince teams (I love football), but that’s the media narrative, right?” Thibodeaux told reporters. “There always has to be some narrative, and for me, I’m an L.A. kid and if you know the adversity that I went through to get here and the things that I had to sacrifice and the things that my mother had to sacrifice for me to be here, you’d really understand how I feel in my heart.
“And when you talk about fire, you talk about passion, you can’t even really explain it. I get emotional thinking about it, because all the sacrifices it took for me to get here, I wouldn’t even have made those sacrifices if I didn’t love the game. So I’m blessed to be here and I’m just happy these teams want to talk to me and get to know me.”
Leaving the Combine early? Hurting Thibodeaux? Some NFL insiders say yes, he says no, and we will find out the truth sometime in late April.