In late rounds, the Bengals love to get guys that are high character and can contribute.
That was no different this year, especially with their fifth-round pick, Khalid Kareem. He should be able to contribute sometime during his rookie contract, even if it is as a rotational player than as a full time starter.
The Bengals defensive line has always played best when there is a heavy rotation. Hopefully, Kareem can play into that in the 2020 season and beyond.
So with that, let’s take a look at five facts about the Bengals’ newest defensive end.
1. He graduated from Notre Dame
Just like mentioned above, the Bengals love to target high-character guys who can play immediately. Something that not always, but often goes along with that is guys who stayed through college to get their degree.
Obviously, there are leaders who left early and players who are bad leaders that got their degree. It is a nice thing to know that he has it though and that he went to the trouble of getting it, especially in a prestigious school like Notre Dame.
Also, for anyone wondering, if the only reason his leadership is thought to be good is because of the degree, do not fret, as he is highly talked of among his coaches and peers and was a team captain.
2. He wasn’t originally committed to Notre Dame
His college career could have played out very differently as Kareem, a four-star recruit, was originally committed to Alabama. While there was no definitive reason that could be found for why he decided to flip to Notre Dame, it makes sense that he wanted to stay closer to his home and family. Who knows where Kareem could have gone in the draft if he went to Alabama instead of Notre Dame.
3. He played through an injury in 2019
If you have any questions about his toughness, then you can put them to rest. Over the second half of the 2019 college football season, Kareem played through a torn shoulder labrum. While it’s never good for a player to be injured, and the hope has to be he stays as healthy as can be, it is reassuring seeing his toughness in playing through what must have been a tough injury, especially for a pass rusher where there arms are so important.
4. He was coached by his father
His father, Ken Kip Kareem, coached him in youth football, which probably helped strengthen his devotion and love for the game. His father said that even back then Khalid Kareem had dreams of the NFL like so many little kids do. However, he has now made that dream come true by being drafted by Cincinnati, so congrats on achieving that dream.
5. He has always been a defensive end
Funnily enough, there are a lot of players that either play multiple positions until college or switch positions once they get to college. Kareem, on the other hand, has been a defensive end since he was six years old.
In stark contrast to fellow Bengals defensive end Sam Hubbard, who was recruited to Ohio State as a safety and had to put on roughly 60-70 pounds to play with his hand in the dirt. While it definitely doesn’t mean he will be a better player than the solid Hubbard, it is interesting the different arcs players careers can take before they even get to the pros.