Two elite defensive ends, Oregon’s Kayvon Thibodeaux and Purdue’s George Karlaftis, have both declared for the 2022 NFL Draft.
The two defensive end prospects have been connected since their elite freshman seasons and have now declared for the draft on the same day. The two players are projected top-ten picks and were expected to enter the 2022 NFL Draft since they were 2018 recruits.
Thibodeaux has long been heralded as the top player in this draft. However, after an injury derailed a good chunk of his season, some draft experts have Michigan’s Aidan Hutchinson as the top player after his historic year at Michigan.
Thibodeaux made his official announcement via his personal Instagram account.
The Los Angeles native comes in at 6-foot-5 and 248 pounds. He is one of the most explosive defensive ends in the country and put together 19 sacks in 30 games for the Ducks.
Thibodeaux not only declared for the draft, but he stated he would not play in the Alamo Bowl for the Ducks either. This news comes a day after Mario Cristobal left the head coaching job at Oregon to return to Miami.
Similar to Thibodeaux, Karlaftis has been considered an elite defensive end prospect in the 2022 class. He made his official farewell to Purdue via twitter.
The Greece native comes in at 6-foot-4 and 276 pounds and put together an impressive career at Purdue. In 26 games, Karlaftis put together 29 tackles for loss to go along with 14 sacks, six pass deflections, three forced fumbles, and four fumble recoveries.
Karlaftis was named second-team All-Big Ten the last two seasons, despite only playing in three games in 2020 due to COVID and injury. There is no official word on if he is expected to play in the Boilermakers’ bowl game.
Outside of the two defensive end prospects, fellow other defensive players could round out the top-10 in this year’s class. Those players include Texas A&M defensive lineman DeMarvin Leal, who has already declared, Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton, LSU cornerback Derek Stingley Jr, Cincinnati cornerback Ahmad Gardner, and of course Hutchinson.
Both Thibodeaux and Karlaftis should test well in the pre-draft process and should be expected to be selected somewhere in the top 10 of the 2022 NFL Draft.