The Cincinnati Bengals drafted Notre Dame defensive end Khalid Kareem with the first pick of the fifth round.
Kareem becomes the second Notre Dame defensive end to be selected in the 2020 NFL Draft, joining teammate Julian Okwara, who was taken in round three by the Detroit Lions. In the decade prior the Irish had a combined two defensive ends taken in the draft (Stephon Tuitt, 2014 / Kapron Lewis-Moore, 2013).
After not playing much as a freshman, the Detroit native became a key rotation player in 2017 as a sophomore. Kareem racked up 5.5 tackles for loss and three sacks that season, but you could see the flashes.
Those flashes turned into impact production the next two seasons, as Kareem registered 20.5 tackles for loss and 10 sacks despite competing with first round pick Jerry Tillery and Okwara for sacks.
Beyond the production, Kareem brought leadership and clutch play. He was money in key late game situations in 2018, and his hustle strip sack against Virginia Tech in 2018 changed the course of that game.
A shoulder injury kept the Irish team captain from participating in the pre-draft process, which likely knocked him down many draft boards. When healthy, Kareem showed himself to be a difference maker against the run and a player with the potential to get after the quarterback.
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