Editor’s Note: Some may take this as a means of doing less work, combining both a draft preview with a draft recap. The truth is, it should be seen as a peek behind the curtain. A draft recap is written long ahead of time, leaning heavily on repurposing the draft preview, so as to publish quickly upon the announcement of the pick. The thought is, this might be a more light-hearted approach. These days, light-hearted approaches are the way to go, though perhaps the NFL’s approach to draft logistics is taking that too seriously.
Former Notre Dame defensive end Khalid Kareem has joined his old pass-rushing partner Julian Okwara in realizing their NFL dreams. Kareem was selected by the ______ in either Friday night’s second/third round or Saturday’s fourth round with the No. ___ overall pick.
As an Irish captain in 2019, Kareem finished with 46 tackles, including 10 for loss with 5.5 sacks, as well as 11 more quarterback hurries. His collegiate career concluded with 26 tackles for loss including 13 sacks. Kareem’s last regular-season moment featured him falling on a fumble in the Stanford end zone, the first touchdown of his collegiate career and a play that guaranteed Notre Dame a third-consecutive double-digit win season.
In his last two years with the Irish, Kareem developed a reputation for playing through pain. If focused on distinctions in definitions, Kareem was often hurt, but never injured. The frequency of his calls for assistance to limp to the sideline with a tweaked ankle earned eye rolls from the skeptical, but Kareem always returned to the game in short order, almost always just as effective as before rolling an ankle.
That presumed toughness theory became fact when after the 2019 season, Kareem revealed he had played much of it with a torn labrum. Recovering from that delayed surgery kept him from showcasing his talents at the NFL combine, forcing Kareem to do as was en vogue this draft cycle and hold his own unofficial Pro Day in a sparse gym near Detroit.
Felt good being out there with my son just 6 months after my hip surgery and 3 months after his labrum shoulder surgery. He's the best DE in this draft. Should be the 1st or 2nd Edge Rusher taken. Khalid Kareem's virtual pro day here: https://t.co/xqz3rsHyWX
— Coach Ken Kareem (@Kkareem127) April 21, 2020
Those limitations undoubtedly negatively impacted Kareem’s draft status, but in the long run, his gritty approach to playing through pain should serve him well in the NFL.
Insert comments on Kareem’s initial salary, with the numbers drawn from Spotrac.com’s database.
— Notre Dame Football (@NDFootball) April 21, 2020