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Up, Down or Stay: Kansas OT Hakeem Adeniji could — should? — hear his name called on Day 2 of the NFL draft

One player is 6-foot-4, 302 pounds and tested out in the 90th percentile in many of his Combine measurements. He started in 48 games.

The other player is 6-foot-4, 312 pounds and also tested out in the 90th percentile in several categories, according to Mockdraftable.com. He started 29 games.

So why is Kansas offensive tackle Hakeem Adeniji considered a Day 2 or Day 3 prospect, while Alabama’s Jedrick Wills is considered a first-rounder?

It starts with the level of competition. Wills had to stave off future NFL players and 5-star recruits his entire career at Alabama – and that was just in practice. And Wills was more dominant against SEC opponents than Adeniji was against Big 12 foes.

Those are among the reasons why Wills is viewed as a first-rounder – but don’t count Adeniji out.

The tier-1 group of OTs includes Tristan Wirfs of Iowa, Mekhi Becton of Louisville, Wills, Georgia’s Andrew Thomas and Houston’s Josh Jones. Boise State’s Ezra Cleveland, Georgia’s Isaiah Wilson, Connecticut’s Matt Peart and USC’s Austin Jackson are all among the tier-2 OTs – and any of them could go in the first round, especially if there’s a run on offensive tackles after the first five are selected.

And while it’s unlikely that he’s drafted that high, you can throw Adeniji into the fringe first-rounder mix, too, as he told reporters at the Combine that he was told by scouts and coaches there that he’s considered a Day 2 prospect.

From The Athletic’s Dane Brugler on his post-Combine report on players who boosted their draft stock:

“A player who isn’t receiving enough attention for his productive Senior Bowl week is Adeniji, who consistently stymied defensive linemen in one-on-ones. The Kansas product did an excellent job maintaining a wide base and keeping his hands inside to strike, recoil and answer whatever was thrown at him. … Most of the NFL feedback I received is he will likely go on Day 3 of the draft but bumped himself up a round.”

Scouts are mixed on Adeniji’s best position at the next level, although he played both guard and tackle during Senior Bowl practices.

So, is Adeiniji a first-round pick? Probably not, but he has shown during the lead-up to the draft that he’s very much in the conversation for a Day 2 pick.


Jake Rigdon (jake@sydwriting.com) covers the NFL draft for Fanspeak and the On The Clock, which is the only NFL draft simulator that allows you to customize and use your own big board while giving you control over trades.

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