2023 NFL Draft

2023 NFL Draft Player Profiles: Northwestern EDGE Adetomiwa Adebawore

From now until the 2023 NFL Draft takes place, we hope to scout and create profiles for as many prospects as possible, examining their strengths, weaknesses, and what they can bring to an NFL franchise. These players could be potential top 10 picks, all the way down to Day 3 selections, and priority undrafted free agents. Today, we’ll be profiling Northwestern EDGE Adetomiwa Adebawore.

#99 ADETOMIWA ADEBAWORE/EDGE NORTHWESTERN – 6015, 282 (SENIOR)

Senior Bowl Participant

MEASURABLES

Player Ht/Wt Hand Size Arm Length Wingspan
Adetomiwa Adebawore 6015/282 10 1/2″ 33 7/8″ 82 1/8″
40-Yard Dash 10-Yard Dash Short Shuttle 3-Cone
4.49 1.61 N/A N/A
Broad Jump Vertical Bench Press
10′ 5″ 37.5″ 27

THE GOOD

— Explosive out of his stance, able to generate good initial quickness playing mostly from a 4-point stance
— Very good anchor in the run game, doesn’t give much ground
— Good natural pad level to create leverage
— Solid play strength, able to knock blockers off balance with his punch
— Uses length and leverage well with a nice long arm
— Solid competitive toughness fighting through blocks with a high motor
— Versatile, lined up at every spot across the defensive front with the body type to pull off most positions
— Gets his hands up in the passing lanes
— Good short area burst

THE BAD

— Tweener body type for an edge rusher
— Adequate play speed, processing speed doesn’t allow him to maximize athleticism
— Lack of counter moves to get off blocks
— Doesn’t seem to have a true plan as a pass rusher
— Marginal mental processing, keeps his eyes in the backfield, but takes too much time to make a decision and take action
— Adequate bend, raises his pad level when he tries to pivot which leads to him getting pushed up the arc
— No dominant or go-to pass rush move

BIO

— Three star prospect out of Kansas City, Missouri
— Chose Northwestern over Washington State, Army, Navy, Air-Force
— Appeared in 8 games as a true freshman, starting 3
— Finished college career with 41 games played, starting 36 of them
— 97 total tackles, 12.5 sacks, 24.5 TFL, 4 FF
— Named the defensive captain his senior season
— Durable, no games missed due to injury in college
— Appeared on Bruce Feldman’s “College Football Freaks” list for 2022
— Ran the fastest 40 yard dash ever at the NFL combine for a player over 275 pounds (4.49)
— Voted National Team’s Practice Player of the Week at the Senior Bowl
— Third Team All-Big 10 in 2022, Honorable Mention in 2021

TAPE BREAKDOWN

Adebawore almost exclusively lines up in a 4-point stance. Whether he is lined up at 0 tech nose tackle, or all the way out at a wide 9, he tends to prefer the 4-point stance. He fires out of it pretty well with a quick first step. The first part of this clip is one of the few examples I could find of him lining up in a 2-point stance. He has a nice first step and bursts into the backfield, but isn’t able to fight through a reach block to finish the play. A similar story in the second clip as he struggles to fight through the contact which forces an awkward angle in pursuit.

On the third play of the clip, he does a nice job playing Paris Johnson’s arm and takes a nice sharp angle towards the quarterback. He is able to fight through contact from two others, de-cleating the running back for a near sack. He was allowed to pin his ears back and rush the passer which allowed his athleticism to shine. His natural leverage and length are on display on the fourth play, putting the guard on skates and swiping at the quarterbacks arm. He didn’t finish the play, but he was able to force an off-platform throw.

The burst carries over in the run game, too. On the first play, Adebawore beat the reach block and flowed with the outside zone run. He was able to push the guard back before shedding and securing the tackle for a loss on 3rd down. On the second clip, he is matched up against a tight end and easily discards him using his leverage and length to shed and tackle. On the third play, he gets himself into an awkward position with his hips completely turned to the hole, but he is able to whip his hole body around and fill the gap for the run stop. On the final play, he sets the edge well and delivers a nice pop to the lead blocker to plug the hole.

While he is able to create that burst when things go well, too often he is held back by slow mental processing. This showed up on his tape in a number of ways, but most often manifested as hesitation. He could get himself in position to have a chance at the play only to stutter and take himself out of the play. He also seemed too committed to holding contain at times and didn’t display any of that killer instinct you need as a pass rusher.

Along with his slow processing, he doesn’t have a developed pass rush arsenal. It is possible that he was asked to do too much along the defensive front which held him back from developing nuance at any one position, but too often his speed to power would get anchored by the offensive lineman and he had no counter moves to get off the block. The first play is against Dawand Jones, which is a tricky matchup for anybody because of his freakish length. Adebawore should have the upper hand given the large difference in athleticism and a big leverage advantage, but he ran right into Jones’ grasp and couldn’t bend around the corner or counter back inside.

CONCLUSION

While Adebawore undeniably has intriguing athleticism, his overall skills as a pass rusher are underdeveloped. If he is given a simple task like rushing the passer on an obvious passing down his athleticism shines and his quickness and burst are difficult for any lineman to handle. On the other hand, his play speed suffers from slow mental processing and when he can’t win with speed to power he struggles to counter off blocks.

The consensus seems to be that he will be an edge at the next level. Funny enough, his height/weight/speed profile are very similar to that of defensive tackle draft prospect Calijah Kancey. That puts into perspective how awkward his body is as a tweener. The arm length and athleticism certainly could work out on the edge, but he likes to play with both hands in the dirt and could be deployed anywhere along the front. The versatility could make for some interesting third down packages for whichever team drafts him. My pro comparison for him is Owa Odighizuwa.

While the Steelers need a third pass rusher, Adebawore doesn’t have the ideal dimensions that the team looks for in the position. His testing at the combine was good enough to push his stock up, but probably not the right fit for the Steelers.

Projection: Late Day Two/Early Day Three

Depot Draft Grade: 7.4 – Raw Traits/Upside Prospect (4th Round)

Games Watched: vs Wisconsin (2022), vs Ohio State (2022), at Michigan (2021)

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