Combine Reaction: Khalid Kareem and Julian Okwara Impress At Weigh Ins

Bryan Driskell

The third day of the NFL Scouting Combine involved weigh ins and measurements for defensive linemen, and a pair of former Notre Dame players were standouts.

Defensive ends Khalid Kareem and Julian Okwara were among the nine former Irish players invited to the combine. There has been some debate down in Indianapolis about whether or not either will work out at the combine while recovering from injuries, but they at least made a splash on day one.

Kareem had an especially impressive weigh in session.

Here are Kareem’s measurements:

Height: 6-3 3/4
Weight: 268
Hands: 10 7/8”
Arms: 34 3/8”
Wingspan: 84”

There are 25 defensive ends at the combine this year, and Kareem had the longest wingspan and biggest hands. He was tied for the fourth longest arms and he was sixth in weight and seventh in height.

Wingspan is vitally important for a defensive end, as it helps ends with good technique to keep blockers off their body. It’s even more important when you see the length for the top offensive tackles in the draft.

Isaiah Wilson, Georgia - 84 3/8"
Andrew Thomas, Georgia - 83 1/2”
Jedrick Wills, Alabama - 83 1/2”
Mekhi Becton, Louisville - 83 1/4”
Austin Jackson, USC - 82”
Tristan Wirfs, Iowa - 80 1/4”
Josh Jones, Houston - 79 7/8”

The latest rumblings in Indianapolis are that Kareem will not perform on-field tests or drills while still recovering from injuries. If true, it’s even more important that he leave a mark in some way, and he did that with his impressive measurements. If he can get healthy by Notre Dame’s March Pro Day and post good athletic numbers he could see his stock rise into the second round.

Okwara’s measurements were also impressive.

Height: 6-4 1/4
Weight: 252
Hands: 10 1/4”
Arms: 34 3/8”
Wingspan: 81 3/4”

Okwara had the fourth longest wingspan, fourth biggest hands and tied with Kareem for the fourth longest arms. He also was the fifth tallest of all the ends, but he was also one of the highest at 252 pounds, although that is up over 10 pounds from his listed weight at Notre Dame.

To put Kareem and Okwara’s length into context, compare them to former Notre Dame standout Jerry Tillery, a 2019 first round NFL Draft pick. Tillery checked in last year’s combine at 6-6 1/2 and 295 pounds. Tillery had 10 5/8” hands, 34 1/4” arms and an 81” wingspan.

Also compare them to the top defensive end in the 2020 NFL Draft, Ohio State’s Chase Young. Young is listed at 6-4 7/8 and 264 pounds. He has 10” hands, 33 3/4” arms and an 80 5/8” wingspan.

Like Kareem, Okwara is not expected to do any on-field workouts at the combine.

According to NFL.com, Kareem and Okwara were both asked to work out at both defensive end and linebacker at the combine. If they are healthy at the Notre Dame Pro Day you can expect scouts to work them out at both positions.

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