New Cincinnati Bengals offensive tackle Hakeem Adeniji is getting playing time with the starters in training camp.
As the orange and black faithful are well aware, almost all the news coming out of the Cincinnati Bengals’ training camp revolves around Joe Burrow, not the offensive line. If there is talk about the trenches, it deals with Jonah Williams, the 2019 first-round pick set to anchor the unit and protect the blindside. However, this year’s sixth-round pick, Hakeem Adeniji, is quietly making waves as he begins his tenure in stripes.
The four-year starter from Kansas somehow fell to the Bengals on day three. According to offensive line coach Jim Turner, he possesses the skill set that would have warranted a second-round selection. So far, he’s been performing closer to Turner’s evaluation of him than his actual draft billing.
With the presumptive starting left guard Michael Jordan missing time due to the birth of his child, it’s been Adeniji soaking up his snaps, according to Bengals’ Senior Writer Geoff Hobson. Don’t be surprised if he ends up playing meaningful snaps soon either, as Hobson had this to say about the promising tackle,
"“Adeniji… is going to be a starter at some point and maybe sooner rather than later. He’s athletic and obviously smart because they feel like they can use him at both tackles and guards.”"
Hobson’s words come on the heels of praise from Bengals legend Dave Lapham, who called the 6’4, 300-pound lineman a steal.
There’s a scenario where Hakeem Adeniji gets serious playing time this year
The offensive line is a particularly susceptible unit to reshuffling. The Bengals are no stranger to that concept either. Just last year, they went through several different iterations of starting lineups due to struggles, disputes, and injury.
Speaking of injury, as previously mentioned, Adeniji has the ability to play both tackle and guard. While Billy Price and Fred Johnson would likely come off the bench before him, that kind of versatility heavily increases his chances to see the field.
Perhaps most importantly, his potential makes it tempting to play him as soon as possible. If things begin to go south, and there’s a distinct possibility that they will, getting Adeniji’s development underway by giving him snaps could be the quickest path to solving the offensive line puzzle.
No matter when Adeniji ends up starting, the fact that those within the organization believe he will at some point is good news. It’s not every day a club finds a viable starter on day three, let alone round six. After a string of misses on offensive linemen in the draft, it appears that the Bengals’ front office is beginning to improve their track record in that regard.