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Indianapolis Colts

2023 Colts Rookie Review: Adetomiwa Adebawore adds depth to defensive line

Adebawore, the No. 110 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, notched his first career sack in Week 9 against the Carolina Panthers. 

Adetomiwa Adebawore

2023 Statistics

  • 10 games
  • 132 snaps
  • 1.5 sacks
  • 1 TFL
  • 4 QB hits
  • 6 total pressures
  • 5 tackles

The Big Picture

The Colts selected Adebawore in the fourth round of the 2023 NFL Draft with the plan to move him from defensive end (his position at Northwestern) to defensive tackle, where they felt his skillset and remarkable athletic profile would fit best. Adebawore last year became the first player in NFL Combine history to weigh over 280 pounds and run a 40-yard dash under 4.5 seconds. 

"He's got really unique traits for the position," general manager Chris Ballard said after drafting him in April. 

In evaluating and projecting Adebawore, the Colts saw a player with good pass rushing upside while needing to develop as a run defender in the interior. That's sort of how the 2023 season played out – Adebawore earned a 62.5 Pro Football Focus pass rushing grade but had a 24.1 PFF run defense grade. 

The Colts, though, saw Adebawore's run defense improve during the season, especially as he got more reps against the run with Grover Stewart suspended between Weeks 7-13. 

"I think with Tomi it was never a question about his ability to rush," defensive coordinator Gus Bradley said. "I think that was his strong suit. When we looked at him we thought, 'Shoot, he's strong, has the ability to rush. Maybe he can give us some inside pressure.'

"The question for Tomi was how about the run game? When teams double team him or good zone schemes, how is he going to be there? I think early in the season sometimes you scratch your head and it didn't look like it should look. But to his credit, I think the more and more he plays you're seeing more strain from him. That's what we need. It might not be where he splits the double team and makes a play, but you do see strain and you do see him maintaining the line of scrimmage more consistently than he did at the beginning of the season. So credit him for that."

Adebawore was inactive for seven games as a rookie (Weeks 1-3, Week 6, Week 15, Weeks 17-18) as he acclimated to the NFL.

Season Highlights

View the best photos from defensive tackle Adetomiwa Adebawore's rookie season with the Indianapolis Colts.

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