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Film Room: What Khalid Kareem brings to the Bengals

Notre Dame edge Khalid Kareem is a great fit for the Bengals defensively

NCAA Football: Notre Dame at Stanford Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

The Bengals came into the draft with very limited depth at edge, but they addressed that need in Round 5 with Notre Dame’s Khalid Kareem.

The pick came as a bit of a surprise, but a deep dive into his film reveals the type of tough, versatile player who defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo covets.

Let me show you what I mean.

In this clip, Kareem does an excellent job of setting the edge, and once the ball declares itself he disengages from the block and makes the tackle.

Kareem shows excellent strength and awareness on this play.

As I watched Kareem, a word popped into my head.


That is what he is to offenses. He just seems to have a knack for being a disruption.

In this clip, he is in a 3 technique on the backside of Navy’s option play. He gets off of the ball too fast for the offensive tackle to cut him off and hits the quarterback from behind. This is enough to cause an errant pitch and a fumble.

The late great Bum Phillips once said, “Two kinds of ballplayers aren’t worth a darn: One that never does what he’s told, and one who does nothin’ except for what he’s told.”

On this play, Kareem should be defeating the cut, but that’s not what he does.

Realizing how close he is to the quarterback, he reaches out and swats at the ball.

This was a great instinct on Kareem’s part and resulted in a turnover.

In this clip, Kareem shows off his football IQ.

There must have been something in the game plan that indicated to Kareem that in this situation and this formation the offense would run a quick screen to the wide receiver, because Kareem knows exactly what the play is before the is even snap.

He gets wide and leaps up in the air to slap the ball down.

This displays excellent situational awareness.

Kareem is not a super-twitchy athlete, but that doesn’t mean he can’t rush the passer.

Here he gets the edge on New York Giants 4th overall selection Andrew Thomas forcing the quarterback to take off running.

In this clip against Stanford, he wins with speed on the edge and bends inside for the sack.

At times he looks like he is a little stiff and can have trouble disengaging from pass blocks. He could work to improve his get-off moves and hip flexibility.

Kareem lines up as the nose tackle in this clip, but twists around to the outside and comes up with the sack.

In this clip, Kareem is lined up in a 3-technique in a 3-4 front.

He uses a push-pull to beat the guard and pressure the quarterback.

Kareem is a versatile defensive lineman who could play a multifaceted role in this defense.

Moving inside to play the 3 technique or the 5 technique in the Bengals 3-4 looks may be the best fit for him. He is a little light for that role, but if he could add a few pounds while maintaining his speed this would give him the flexibility to play inside and outside on the defensive line.