Unpacking Future Packers: No. 68, Northwestern DL Adetomiwa Adebawore

The Unpacking Future Packers Countdown is a countdown of 100 prospects that could be selected by the Green Bay Packers in the 2023 NFL draft.

The Green Bay Packers could be losing Jarran Reed and Dean Lowry to free agency this offseason. With those two veterans possibly on their way out, Brian Gutekunst will likely use a draft pick or two on a defensive lineman as he looks to continue to try and find Kenny Clark some help up front.

A player that Gutekunst could target in the 2023 NFL Draft is Adetomiwa Adebawore. The Northwestern defensive lineman checks in at No. 68 in the Unpacking Future Packers countdown.

During his first two years on campus, Adebawore recorded seven tackles for loss and three sacks. As a junior in 2021, Adebawore recorded 8.5 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, and one interception. This past season, Adebawore recorded nine tackles for loss and five sacks. 

“Adebawore was the best defensive player on Northwestern,” Bradley Locker, the editor for Inside NU said. “A trend that continued for at least the last two seasons. Granted, there wasn’t much talent on the defensive side of the ball in Evanston the past two years, but Adebawore was head and shoulders above almost everyone else. He was the lone player able to provide some type of reliable pass rush, leading the Wildcats with 31 pressures and five sacks. For context, the next-closest players had 2.5 sacks and 19 pressures. In an extremely disappointing collective year, Adebawore still shined, earning Third Team All-Big Ten honors.”

At 6-1, 284 pounds, Adebawore may be viewed as a tweener. The “undersized defensive lineman plays with a junkyard dog mentality and his motor is always running. He comes at you with everything he has on each and every rep. He has a lot of power in his frame and that brute strength is a big reason why the Northwestern offensive lineman was No. 30 on Bruce Feldman’s Freaks List.

“Adebawore’s greatest strength is probably, well, his actual strength,” Locker said. “It was on full display at the Senior Bowl: he’s just extremely tough to block with the power he’s able to generate in his hands. The ‘Cats lined up Adebawore across the DL this year, including 374 snaps outside the tackle, 261 in the B gap, and 75 over tackles, per PFF, and interior may be his best spot at the next level with his leverage and power.”

The Northwestern defensive lineman is a twitchy, power-packed defensive lineman. Adebawore has long arms and always plays lower than the man across from him. Once he gets underneath the offensive lineman and into their pads he drives them back into the quarterback’s lap with his strength. He has strong, heavy hands that jolt linemen. He plays with good bend and lower body flexibility for a man his size. According to Pro Football Focus, the Northwestern defensive lineman recorded 61 pressures over the past two seasons.  

“Adebawore can definitely be disruptive as a pass rusher, but his sack production was disappointing across his career,” Locker said. “Though Adebawore did lead NU easily in pressures, his numbers slotted in at only 19th across the Big Ten. Adebawore can win with quickness, moves, and bend around the edge, but at 6015, that puts him in just the 4th percentile of edge rushers, per Mockdraftable.”

Adebawore is quick off the snap to blow up running plays. He has adequate short-area quickness to evade blockers and make plays up and down the line of scrimmage. He uses his long arms to shed blocks and is quick to locate the ball carrier. Adebawore has good closing speed and is relentless in his pursuit of ball carriers. 

“He’s so adept at shedding blocks and making quick stops before runs can pick up even minimal yardage,” Locker said. “It’s no coincidence he had 17.5 tackles for loss and 50 stops combined the last two years. In fact, I think he’s probably a better run defender than pass rusher.”

Fit with the Packers

During the 2012 NFL Draft, the Packers selected Mike Daniels in the fourth round. The Iowa defensive lineman was 6-0, 291 pounds with 32.5-inch arms. 

Daniels was a power-packed defensive lineman that was viewed as an undersized interior defensive lineman. The former fourth-round pick went on to enjoy a successful career for the Packers and quickly became a fan favorite at Lambeau Field. Adebawore has a lot of Daniels in his game with his size, power, and relentless play style. 

“Adebawore can certainly have a similar type of career, and I think he’ll be a really sound pro who makes a team happy by taking him this April,” Locker said. “Going into the season, Adebawore was largely viewed as a Round five-to-seven round pick, but with another good year under his belt and a terrific Senior Bowl week, he’s only trending up. With the ability to play inside or outside, teams should covet his versatility. I’d venture to say Adebawore ends up as a 4i or 3-tech, but he could really play most positions along the defensive line with success at the next level.”

Adebawore was a disruptive interior force for the Wildcats. Playing in the same front seven that features Clark and Rashan Gary, the Northwestern defensive lineman could dominate in one-on-one situations with his power and short-area quickness.

With Clark, Devonte Wyatt, and TJ Slaton, the Packers have solid pieces in place up front. Adebawore could help shore up Green Bay’s run defense, while also bolstering their interior pass rush.


Story originally appeared on Packers Wire