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Kayvon Thibodeaux reportedly among 3 new Eagles pre-draft visits

Some intriguing NFL Draft news.

Arizona v Oregon Photo by Tom Hauck/Getty Images

Three more of the Philadelphia Eagles’ top 30 pre-draft visits have been revealed since our last update.

The Eagles are meeting with Oregon edge rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux (per Geoff Mosher), Oklahoma defensive lineman Perrion Winfrey (per Josh Norris), and Tulsa offensive lineman Tyler Smith (per Tony Pauline) at the NovaCare Complex ahead of the 2022 NFL Draft.

Let’s sort through this news on a player-by-player basis.


KAYVON THIBODEAUX

Thought to be considered one of the very top prospects in this year’s class, it’s a little surprising that Thibodeaux is meeting with the Eagles. But recent buzz indicates that Thibodeaux could actually fall to Philly’s selection at No. 12. ESPN suggested Thibodeaux’s stock has dropped due to multiple concerns.

Production: Thibodeaux didn’t show the quickness and burst expected on his way to seven sacks and 12 tackles for loss — good numbers, but not those expected of a player deemed a front-runner for the No. 1 pick. Beyond those numbers, scouts and front-office execs with whom I’ve spoken have praised his talent but consistently questioned his motor. “Lack of fire” is not the type of label prospects want.

Interviews: Reporting on prospects’ interviews with NFL teams is always tough because I want to be fair to the player, which is why it’s important to not report information gleaned from a single source. More than half a dozen scouts have told me that Thibodeaux did not impress in interviews with their teams. The word consistently used to describe his interviews is “poor.” That’s a red flag, especially for teams looking to use a premium pick.

Injury: Thibodeaux sprained his ankle in September, an injury that takes time to heal. One scout charged with evaluating Thibodeaux, however, thought that he was timid after the injury and said that those within the Oregon program agreed.

The Eagles will use this visit to get a better gauge on Thibodeaux by interviewing him and putting him through some medical testing.

While the allure of a “steal” is always tempting, one must consider that sometimes players fall further than expected in the draft for legitimate reasons. The Eagles have improperly evaluated and/or weighed football character with premium picks in previous drafts. It remains to be seen if questions about Thibodeaux are truly legit or if they’re overblown.

Should he be available to the Eagles on draft night, the team could be excited about adding him to their current cadre of edge rushers: Brandon Graham, Haason Reddick, Josh Sweat, and Derek Barnett.

Scouting report via NFL.com:

Enticing edge defender whose game is fueled by traits and power over skill and instincts at this juncture of his career. Thibodeaux is hardly a finished product, but has pro-ready attributes that should help him acclimate quickly. He’s a plus run defender who punches above his weight at the point of attack with heavy hands and a sturdy base. He has some suddenness in tight quarters and above-average pursuit speed, which should keep the tackles for loss rolling in throughout his career. Thibodeaux rushes with effort, upfield burst and play-through power that should bring reasonable sack/pressure production. However, he needs to add some go-to moves and more skilled hands to his bag if he is to affect the quarterback more frequently and reach his lofty potential as a standout, two-way edge defender.

Spider graph via Mockdraftable:

Highlights:


PERRION WINFREY

Winfrey really impressed during Senior Bowl practices and took home the college all-star game’s MVP award. He boosted his stock further by posting good numbers at the NFL Combine. Spider graph via Mockdraftable:

Winfrey, who only turns 22 in August, originally attended community college before transferring to Oklahoma in 2020. He posted 11 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks, and one forced fumble for the Sooners last year.

There’s some thought that Winfrey wasn’t necessarily maximized in Oklahoma’s system and he could benefit from being allowed to really get after the quarterback. Kind of sounds familiar to how the Eagles thought Javon Hargrave had untapped potential as a pass rusher following his time playing for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Winfrey could be a second-round target for the Birds. With Fletcher Cox potentially gone next year, he could be a long-term piece alongside Hargrave and Milton Williams.

Scouting report via NFL.com:

Winfrey looks the part and will impress with his body type at the NFL Scouting Combine. However, he’s frequently late off the ball. A tight lower half and disappointing lateral agility make him a liability against move-blocking schemes. He does, however, have an explosive get-off and heavy hands. His flashes at the Senior Bowl improved his draft stock and made teams take notice. He has some hit-or-miss elements to his game but has good rotational value with a chance to become an eventual starter.

Highlights:


TYLER SMITH

Smith is a large, athletic offensive line prospect who largely played left tackle for Tulsa. There’s thought he could benefit from a move to guard at the NFL level. The Eagles do indeed like taking guys with tackle size and moving them to the interior (see: Brandon Brooks, Landon Dickerson).

If drafted by the Eagles, Smith would likely be a backup as a rookie. But he could potentially start at guard in 2023. There are questions about Isaac Seumalo’s future considering he’s in the last year of his contract, he’s only played in 12 out of Philly’s last 34 games, and he turns 29 this season. Even if Seumalo is retained, he could be moving inside to play center with Jason Kelce making year-to-year decisions about playing football.

Smith boasts intriguing tools for Jeff Stoutland to work with.

(Side note: Smith is the first offensive prospect known to have a pre-draft visit in Philly.)

Scouting report via NFL.com:

Power merchant who plays the game with a field demeanor that can work in his favor on one play and against him on the next snap. Smith is able to displace defenders as a run blocker despite lacking proper hand usage for leverage. He’s explosive and athletic but struggles to sustain and finish what he starts. He’s too quick to discard any semblance of technique in favor of bear-hugging the opponent and drawing a penalty. A move from tackle to guard would allow teams to feature his downhill power in the rushing attack while reducing exposure in pass protection. The holes in his game can all be filled if he accepts coaching and brings it to the field on Sundays. There is some bust potential present, but the ceiling could draw a team to him on Day 2 of the draft.

Spider graph via Mockdraftable:

Film study:


Complete list of known Philadelphia Eagles draft visits

Tulsa OL Tyler Smith

Oklahoma DT Perrion Winfrey

Oregon DE Kayvon Thibodeaux

Houston CB Marcus Jones

Cincinnati CB Ahmad ‘Sauce” Gardner

Georgia DT Jordan Davis

Georgia DT Devonte Wyatt