When the NFL Combine begins next month in Indianapolis, the group of 324 prospects will be led by Oregon Ducks star edge-rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux, who's currently projected as the top-overall pick on multiple draft boards.
If the 21-year-old redshirt sophomore hears his name called first during draft night, that means he'll join the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars, which are hoping to build a playoff contender with highly-touted quarterback Trevor Lawrence. Regardless of which team selects Thibodeaux, he has a message for league scouts and front offices.
"I'm not only the best player and going to prove that I'm the best player, but I'm also a guy who's going to bring guys with me," Thibodeaux explained to The Zach Gelb Show on Wednesday. "I challenge the average mindset. I'm a guy of culture. Whichever team drafts me, I'm going to come in and establish the culture that was established to me in college. You work hard, play harder.
"You cut out all the outside noise and all the distractions, and you get to work. And I know my personality is very gregarious and I'm a very influential person. With a lot of guys around me, I can get guys together. I have a unifying soul. People will kind of attract to me and they'll move with the way I move. So, if I can get guys on a positive trend, that'll be better for the whole organization."
Thibodeaux, who declared for the draft in December, is listed as the second-overall prospect on Pro Football Focus' big board. In 10 games this past year, he recorded 49 total tackles (35 solo) with 46 pressures, seven sacks, and a pair of forced fumbles. The 6-foot-5, 258-pounder finished with 19 sacks and 35.5 tackles for loss in 30 career games, and won the Morris Trophy in 2020 as the Pac-12's best defensive lineman.
The entire conversation between Thibodeaux and Gelb can be accessed in the audio player above.