DE Khalid Kareem, Notre Dame

6’4” – 265 lbs.

Appeared in four games as a true freshman, and all thirteen games the following year, a season in which he totaled 21 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, and three sacks. Stepped into a full-time starting role the following year, putting together a productive line of 42-10.5-4.5 with eight hurries. Had a similar senior season, finishing with 46-10.0-5.5, three forced fumbles, and eleven hurries. Powerfully built defensive end with prototypical size and bulk for the role; from a physical standpoint, should be ready to step in sooner or later. Plays with his hand in the dirt on both ends of the line. Most projectable to the pro level as a run defender. Usually plays with good leverage, extension, and awareness when two-gapping. Sets a reasonable edge and is capable of holding the point of attack against power. However, his run fits and overall toughness/physicality are more impressive than his ability to discard blockers and make tackles; at this point, looks to have more raw strength and power on contact than polish, ending up getting stuck on blocks after initially getting the better of things. Gives good effort in pursuit but isn’t very fast in a straight line, limiting his range. Probably won’t be a primary pass rusher at the pro level. Tends to rely on a more direct, power-based approach. Has some natural power when bull-rushing, but has a tendency to play outside of his frame, limiting his ability to walk back opposing tackles. Not a major threat to win the edge, as he lacks the explosiveness and reaction times to overwhelm opposing tackles and turn the corner; ability to dip his shoulder and bend around the edge is just adequate, and can struggle to maintain his balance through contact when trying to bend the edge. Would like to see him be more active with his hands and integrate more counters into his game to avoid getting stuck on blocks. Comes with two years of starting experience in a major program, as well as the size and strength to compete at the pro level, but as it currently stands, appears to lack ideal balance, explosiveness, hand use, and variety in his pass-rushing approach; ultimately, how teams grade him will likely be determined in large part by how coachable he’s considered to be, with the potential to work his way into a rotational run-stopping role on a four-man line which prizes toughness.

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