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Breaking down the Bengals selecting Hakeem Adeniji in Round 6

The Bengals waited until the sixth round to address the offensive line. Can Adeniji out-play his draft status?

West Virginia v Kansas Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images

It came a lot later than some had hoped it would, but the Cincinnati Bengals got another piece to help solve their offensive line issues.

Former Kansas tackle Hakeem Adeniji is the newest member of the Bengals’ most polarizing position group, as the team took him at the top of the sixth-round in the NFL Draft. The last time the Bengals drafted a former Jayhawk, it was another offensive lineman on day three of the draft in Tanner Hawkinson back in 2013.

He may not be a high-profile name, but Adeniji fits what the Bengals like when investing in offensive linemen.

What Adeniji brings to the Bengals

Drafting Michael Jordan in the fourth-round of last year’s draft and claiming Fred Johnson off of waivers tells you the Bengals value athleticism in their blockers. Adeniji may not have great size at 6-4 and 302 pounds, but he’s very a fast and explosive athlete. His 34” vertical and 115” broad jump were both fantastic for his size, and his 5.17 40-yard dash was fine as well.

That speed and explosion makes him a fit in a zone scheme, and that reflects the tape as well. Power can get the best of Adeniji, and he looks more comfortable blocking on the move.

There’s value in being a four-year starter, and that’s exactly what Adeniji was. He spent most of his time at left tackle (43 starts) but also played five games at right tackle as an underclassman. He has experience on both sides of the line, but many project him to be a better guard in the NFL.

Why the Bengals drafted Adeniji

No matter what they said about their offensive line, the Bengals needed to spend at least one draft pick on it. Adeniji makes sense from a value standpoint, as he was projected to go off the board sometime earlier today.

It’s not just athleticism the Bengals covet for their lineman, they have arm length and hand size thresholds for their guards and tackles as well. Adeniji’s nearly 34” arms and 10” hands pass both.

If they were going to draft a lineman at all, it was going to be someone who could play inside at guard and outside at tackle. Adeniji has the experience at tackle but the frame and athletic profile to be a better guard. The Bengals will consider him at both positions.

Adeniji also becomes the fourth Senior Bowl alum drafted by the Bengals this year and the third to actually play in the game. We knew they were going to value that experience, and they weren’t lying.

Competition is coming at both right guard and right tackle whenever football becomes playable again, and Adeniji figures to be a part of it in some capacity.