Last week, the Jets signed edge defender Aaron Adeoye. Today, we’ll be breaking him down in detail.
The 28-year old Adeoye is listed at 6’6” and 250 pounds and has played in one regular season game in his NFL career. He’s spent most of the past two seasons on the Ravens’ practice squad after taking an unconventional path to the NFL.
Adeoye was a basketball player in high school and for the first four years of his college career, only transferring into the football program for his fifth year of eligibility.
He had played college basketball at four different schools, with South East Missouri State being the last of the four and that’s where he opted to play football. He only played in four games, recording two tackles and half a tackle for loss, but had displayed enough raw talent to want to try and play at the professional level.
No NFL teams showed any interest in him initially, but he played in the Champions Indoor Football League in 2017, the Spring League in 2018 and then managed to earn a roster spot with the Birmingham Iron in the short-lived Alliance of American Football.
In five games, Adeoye made three starts and recorded 13 tackles, six quarterback hits, two tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, a pass defensed and a forced fumble.
In 2019, he got the chance to try out for the Ravens and he impressed them enough to earn a contract and an invitation to training camp. He recorded a sack in preseason action and ended up on the practice squad and then was on the practice squad again last year from where he was activated for one regular season game.
The Ravens released Adeoye after the first preseason game this season, but the Jets signed him shortly afterwards.
Now let’s take a look at what Adeoye brings to the table, divided into categories.
Adeoye never did a pro day workout but you would expect him to be athletic having been a basketball player in the past and this appears to be the case based on his film.
He clearly has good length too, and it’s almost certain that his measurables were a big part of how he got opportunities with the Iron and the Ravens despite not having much of a body of work to point towards.
Adeoye has played primarily on the edge, both with his hand in the dirt and standing up. However, he has dropped off the line at times and occasionally matched up in the slot.
Adeoye seems to give a good effort in the trenches, will chase plays across the field and plays to the whistle.
In his final three games in the AAF, he started and averaged over 60 defensive snaps, so he should have the conditioning to handle a large workload.
Adeoye is still developing his skills but has some elements of quickness, explosiveness and power to his pass rushing.
In the AAF, he was 11th in the league in total pressures despite the fact that everyone in the top 13 played more games than he did, so he had some decent production despite being raw.
Even at the NFL level, he’s shown some flashes in preseason action, displaying good dip and bend on this outside speed rush for a sack.
Adeoye shows some ability against the run too, with his quickness enabling him to blow up plays in the backfield.
He has shown he can take on blocks well too. On this play he moves well laterally to stretch a run to the outside and works his way off the block to make the stop, showing range in pursuit.
He can be controlled at the point of attack at times and on this play he hesitated too much on the backside - although he did hustle back into the play and ended up recovering a fumble.
Practice footage of Adeoye shows him working on a variety of pass rush moves and techniques and he looks to have the balance and footwork to master these, but he’s yet to have much success when using them in game action.
This is a good rep, though, as he uses his length and power to free himself from the tackle’s block to disrupt the throw with a hit.
Adeoye will no doubt have continued to try and refine moves such as this, while also working on techniques to get off blocks in the running game.
Adeoye hasn’t made any major contributions on special teams at any level yet, other than a holding penalty on a punt return. He’s rushed punts and field goals without much in-game success so far.
Adeoye hasn’t been a particularly productive tackler but he will make an effort to get in on the pile or chase plays down and he’s shown an ability to wrap up or stop a runner in their tracks.
He only had a couple of missed tackles in AAF action, but here’s a play where he overpursued to the inside and lost contain.
Adeoye has dropped into coverage from time to time, which should be one of those skills that translates from his basketball career. He even intercepted a pass in the Spring League:
On this play, he gave up a catch down the seam, mainly because he was a step slow to drop with the tight end, who got a clean release.
Another area where his basketball abilities can come in handy are when batting down passes. He shows good timing and jumping ability on this one.
When rushing the passer, there’s some patience to Adeoye’s approach, which isn’t always the case with inexperienced players. He keeps his head up and reacts to the quarterback or gaps in the offensive line when stunting or delaying his rush.
He shows some good signs in terms of play recognition too. On this play, he doesn’t fall for the misdirection and does a good job of staying at home and then ensuring he gets to the blocker’s outside shoulder so he can’t be sealed on the inside.
On this play, he gets upfield but reacts to the quick pass at the goal line to help blow the play up.
It’s impressive that Adeoye has made it to the NFL after taking such a circuitous route. That shows good determination on his part.
He has said that he didn’t really learn how to play football until he got into the AAF but clearly had enough natural ability that he made contributions from the start and the Ravens obviously saw potential in him.
On the field, his discipline has been good, although he had one roughing the passer penalty in preseason action.
Off the field, he’s shown good character by getting involved in a youth mentoring program.
Adeoye doesn’t seem to have had injury problems so far in his football career, although he did have a wrist injury towards the end of his basketball career. He did, however, miss time during OTA’s this year with an undisclosed injury.
The Jets essentially just need warm bodies at the defensive end positions right now, due to all the injuries they’ve been dealing with. If Adeoye can come in and show some untapped potential then perhaps they might consider him as an option for a situation pass rusher role or something.
Adeoye was a teammate of Bennett Jackson while at Baltimore and Elijah Campbell while in the AAF.
With the cut to 53 just a few days away, Adeoye is likely to have a short stay on the Jets roster. However, if he can come in and show the team something in terms of his potential, then perhaps he can land on the practice squad or will be a consideration to be brought in during the season or on a futures deal at the end of the year if the need arises.
The fact he’s already 28 won’t necessarily prevent them or any other team from considering his as a developmental project because he’s still cheap and has already come a long way in a short space of time.