2022 NFL Draft Notes: Kayvon Thibodeaux, Chris Olave, Sam Howell

NFL Media’s Daniel Jeremiah is taking an early look at some of the top prospects to watch this upcoming college football season and for the 2022 NFL Draft. 

Kayvon Thibodeaux

  • Jeremiah writes that Oregon DE Kayvon Thibodeaux was a highly-regarded recruit and the 6-5, 250-pound edge rusher already has NFL scouts buzzing with his combination of speed, length, power and effort. 
  • If there is one area Thibodeaux can improve, Jeremiah says it’s becoming a more technical rusher, which should happen over time: “He’s winning on pure athleticism and feel. Once he incorporates swipe moves, a consistent long-arm move or a spin move, he’s going to be unblockable. He plays with excellent strength and power, but there is more room for growth on his frame. He’s only going to get better, which must be a scary thought for teams that play against him.”
  • Jeremiah compares Thibodeaux to former Cowboys and Broncos edge rusher DeMarcus Ware

Chris Olave

  • Jeremiah mentions Ohio State WR Chris Olave was highly regarded this year before he decided to return for his senior season. Jeremiah loves Olave’s route-running ability, speed and hands. In general, he sees him as a really polished player. 
  • However, in order to be a more complete player, Jeremiah writes Olave needs to get stronger, as he can be pushed around in the run game and doesn’t break tackles after the catch. 
  • In terms of a pro comparison, Jeremiah sees Olave as somewhere on the same spectrum as Broncos WR Jerry Jeudy and Dolphins WR Will Fuller: “[Olave and Jeudy] have similar body types, top speed and production. However, I think Olave has better hands while Jeudy is a little more explosive in his release and at the top of the route. Fuller is a better comparison. Both guys are special when they work over the top of the defense and both needed to add strength coming out of college.”

Sam Howell

  • While overall he doesn’t think the 2022 quarterback class is on par with this past year’s, Jeremiah notes there’s a lot to like about North Carolina QB Sam Howell‘s game. He writes the ball jumps out of Howell’s hand and his accuracy is strong deep and in the middle of the field. 
  • He adds Howell has some functional mobility to move around in the pocket and get yards when the defense leaves things open. 
  • However, Jeremiah says Howell can occasionally get too aggressive and needs to learn when to rein things in a little bit more. He’ll force the ball into traffic and get happy feet in the pocket at times. 
  • Because of his build, skillset, mobility and competitiveness, Jeremiah compares Howell to Browns QB Baker Mayfield

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