2020 NFL Draft Sleeper: Khalid Kareem
“Gotta keep, gotta keep, gotta keep your head up! Gotta keep, gotta keep, gotta keep your head up!” As we head into the Day 3 of the 2020 NFL Draft, the anticipation for football of all sorts is at an all time high. Our respective favorite teams can land sneaky talented players who will be able to contribute on the field. What more could we ask for right!? The story is different for players as they have worked their entire lives for this moment, waiting anxiously to hear the commissioner call their names from his recliner. Despite these troubling times, my sleeper for this years draft class has been enthusiastic and even got a hype video posted up. Khalid Kareem is a name that I believe everyone will soon recognize, but who he is? What does he bring to the table? And why exactly has he fallen in the draft? Sit back and relax as we take a deeper look!
Kareem was a three year starter for the historic Notre Dame Fighting Irish, a team that has been producing a consistent amount of NFL players over the years. Over the course of his three years starting, you could honestly make the argument that his numbers are better than former teammate and fellow draftee Julian Okwara, who was drafted 67th overall by the Detroit Lions. With Kareem you’re not getting a player that will fit every teams needs since he’s more of a 4-3 defensive lineman and doesn’t have the most mobility to drop into zones or even rush wide receiver flat routes. Your biggest asset with Kareem is the ability to sniff out the run and cause tackles for loss. Notre Dame plays many teams such as Boston College, Navy, and of course USC which all try to incorporate the run more than usual. In 2/3 of those matchups this past season, Notre Dame defensively held the team to under 100 rushing yards and on top of that Kareem had at least 5 tackles in each game. Defensively I would love to see him get onto the Jacksonville Jaguars and help begin the rebuild over there or the Los Angeles Chargers who could set him across the line from Joey Bosa and then convert Melvin Ingram back to linebacker of some sort.
Unfortunately we wouldn’t be talking about Kareem without knowing that he’s available to be drafted. As far as why, I can only think back to November 9th Kareem tore his labrum against Duke. Apparently he continued to play with that injury for the remainder of the season, and eventually had surgery done on January 21st of this year. At this point in the draft teams will want players with minimal injury risk, so certainly a surgery doesn’t help the cause. On the field, we know the league is becoming a pass first style and this is where Kareem falters. He’s held his own against the likes of Andrew Thomas, but generally doesn’t have a counter for pass rush. Tries to use his brute force and power which can only get you so far before you need to use some sort of move. Another thing is just the sheer depth of this class, there are other defensive lineman still waiting to be picked such as Curtis Weaver who will certainly make an impact to whatever NFL team takes the chance on him. Hope y’all enjoy the conclusion to the NFL Draft, be on the look out for our team breakdowns post draft! Thank you all for the support.