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Hakeem Adeniji can make his mark on the Bengals’ offensive line

Adeniji has the traits to develop into an excellent NFL player, and he’s stepping into a prime opportunity to play early in his career.

NFL Combine - Day 4 Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Bengals fans were hoping to get some help on the offensive line in the 2020 NFL Draft. It took two-and-a-half days and 179 prior draft picks, but they finally got it with the Bengals’ sixth-round selection of Kansas offensive tackle Hakeem Adeniji.

Adeniji was a 4-year starter for the Jayhawks and showed position versatility by playing guard at the Senior Bowl.

He is an extremely intelligent player and an excellent athlete as you will see in the film.

This first clip is a toss play in which Adeniji (#78 left tackle) is responsible for blocking the defensive tackle, who is roughly head up on him.

Adeniji is able to control the defender and does not allow him to follow the flow of the play to the outside. Not only that, he drives him back 3 and a half yards off the line of scrimmage. This demonstrates great strength and use of leverage.

The Bengals run outside run plays where he will be asked to make similar blocks. On these plays they will also have linemen making blocks in space. So let’s take a look at how well he works in space.

What really impresses me about Adeniji and what makes him such a great fit for this offense is his athleticism. He moves extremely well for a man of his size.

He is the backside tackle on this play. It is a zone play so he steps down to protect the B-gap. When nobody shows in the gap he works up to the backside linebacker Kenneth Murray, who became a first-round pick for the Chargers last week.

Not only does he get to Murray, but after getting an initial shot he is able to swing his hips around after getting an initial shot in; effectively cutting off his pursuit of the play completely.

This is an excellent job in the second level by Adeniji. He shows strength and athleticism against a very talented player.

On this play Adeniji steps down hard to help the guard get control of the defensive tackle. He is once again ultimately responsible for the linebacker (Murray). Fortunately, he keeps his eyes up, because Murray shoots the gap and Adeniji has to react quickly.

He hinges and engages with Murray, doing just enough to prevent him from getting to the running back.

This was an incredible play in which Adeniji demonstrated quick processing and tremendous athleticism. If Adeniji did not make this block, Murray would have made the tackle in the backfield.

Run blocking is important, but after drafting Joe Burrow with the first-overall pick, protecting the quarterback is protecting the franchise.

Fortunately, Adeniji’s athletic ability translates into pass protection as well.

In this clip Adeniji is expecting the edge rush to come from the defensive end, but has to adjust to a wide blitz from the secondary.

Once again he processes the situation and is athletic enough to react and pick up the blitz.

Here is another great example of Adeniji’s processing.

He kick steps, preparing for the outside pass rush from the defensive end. The end stunts into his inside gap and Adeniji steps down to pick him up. He keeps his eyes up and when the defensive tackle loops around the edge, Adeniji comes off of the defensive end to pick him up.

Adeniji is a smart, athletic player which makes him a great fit for the Bengals offensive line. The flexibility to play both tackle and guard makes him even more valuable and his intelligence will give him an opportunity to compete for a role early.