Bengals hopeful Hakeem Adeniji can play tackle, OL coach Jim Turner gave him a second-round grade
CINCINNATI — The Bengals struggled in the trenches last season. They hope some experience and an infusion of draft picks can help reverse their fortunes.
Former first-round pick Jonah Williams will join Xavier Su'a-Filo in the starting lineup. Su'a-Filo was one of the Bengals' biggest offseason additions.
“I graded him as a second-round pick. I graded him as a second or third-round pick, and I really liked him on tape," Turner told Dave Lapham on the Bengals Booth Podcast. "He got drafted way behind when he should’ve been drafted. I could not believe that nobody else picked him up. Like, we had other needs, so, we weren’t able to get him the second, third, fourth round.
"When he’s still sitting there in the sixth-round, like, you've got to be kidding me. He's much higher than that. He can play tackle or guard. He's an athlete."
Adeniji was a four-year starter at Kansas. He made 48 total starts — 40 at left tackle and eight at right tackle.
The Bengals met with him at the Senior Bowl and the NFL Combine. They love his intelligence, athleticism and his love for football.
"He's a Jonah Williams-type person when it comes to how much he loves football and how much he understands commitment and responsibility," Turner said. "He is an A-plus, when it comes to where we got him in the draft and who he is and what he's going to bring to the table."
Adeniji could compete with Bobby Hart and Fred Johnson for the starting right tackle spot. He could also be a backup swing tackle and guard.
His versatility is one of his best traits according to most NFL evaluators, but the Bengals clearly believe he can be a successful tackle in the pros.
"He is going to compete and he's going to be able to play guard or tackle," Turner said. "I'd rather have him out there playing tackle to be honest with you and I think he can do that."
Listen to Lapham's entire conversation with Turner below.