Adetomiwa Adebawore had to wait to be drafted longer than he expected, but the super-athletic defensive lineman from Northwestern landed in a fantastic situation to begin his NFL career.
Some mock drafts had Adebawore scraping the first round; plenty others pegged him as a Day 2 pick. But 109 players heard their names called before the Colts selected him in the fourth round with the No. 110 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft on Saturday.
"I don't know the reason I fell," Adebawore said. "It doesn't matter right now. Right now, the only thing I'm focused on is getting ready to be an Indianapolis Colt."
In Indianapolis, Adebawore will join an attack-oriented defensive line room coached by Nate Ollie with an emphasis on penetration and blowing up opposing offensive lines. Adebawore totaled 17.5 tackles for a loss, 9.5 sacks and four forced fumbles over his final two seasons at Northwestern, using his remarkable length (he has an 81 5/8-inch wingspan) and athleticism (he ran a 4.49-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine) to bully opposing offensive linemen on a regular basis.
"I would say interior pass rush, my get off, my relentless attitude and everything (are the hallmarks of my game)," Adebawore said. "Obviously, people see it on the field, but the reason I'm going to be able to do what I do on the field is how I take care of myself off the field and the things I do to prepare for those moments."
Adebawore will have to compete to earn playing time, just like every other draft pick. But his upside as someone who can rotate in with defensive tackle DeForest Buckner – who's played the sixth-most snaps (2,468) among defensive linemen over the last three seasons – and as someone who could have other positional flexibility is certainly notable going forward.
"I knew teams obviously have film on me as a defensive end and a defensive tackle," Adebawore said. "It's kind of evident that teams were seeing me more inside at the Senior Bowl because I played a lot inside and I think teams kind of saw me in this league, as a 3-technique."
Adebawore's name, by the way, is pronounced "add-E-TOMMY-wah add-E-BAR-eh," and while he's okay being called "Tomi" in casual settings, he said: "I prefer my real name."
"I'm actually cool with Tomi, but the thing that bothers me is whenever it's written down," Adebawore said. "Let's say it's written down in an article or written down officially as a recognition as a reference to me. That's when it kind of bothers me. If we're just talking, I'm cool with Tomi, but I say Adetomiwa to make sure whenever people see that name listed down, it's referring to me instead of Tomi."
View photos of Northwestern DT Adetomiwa Adebawore, selected 110 overall by the Indianapolis Colts.