If you’re like me, dear reader, then you are very much enjoying the process of learning about the newest rookie Packers. I figured I’d use my weekly column to introduce us to a few of them. I decided to start with Kitan Oladapo as he and I share a few biographical similarities. (This post builds upon the great work of Nick Pennisi and Dane Brugler

Kitan Oladapo: Origins

Olakitan “Kitan” Oladapo is a first-generation American of African descent (a distinction he shares with your humble author). His parents are from Nigeria, making Kitan the second player of Nigerian descent on the Packers roster, joining Kenneth Odumegwu

Kitan was active in sports throughout childhood, primarily as a Striker and Defender in soccer. When he was in sixth grade, Oladapo swapped soccer for football over his mother’s objections. 

Oladapo enrolled at Central Catholic High School in Portland and played Wide Receiver and Running Back early on. He transitioned to Cornerback and Wide Receiver his junior year, helping Central Catholic advance to the 2016 State finals. As a senior in 2017, Oladapo earned second team All-State and first team All-Conference honors. 

Despite his high school successes, college football programs across the country overlooked him.  The recruiting services didn’t rank Kitan in the 2018 recruiting class and he didn’t receive a scholarship offer. Oregon State offered him a preferred walk-on opportunity, however, and he accepted. This makes Kitan the second Oregon State Beaver on the Packers roster. He joins Luke Musgrave who was his junior in college but is now, ironically, his senior in the NFL.

Kitan Oladapo on the hunt.

Kitan Oladapo: College Years

Kitan Oladapo redshirted his first year. During that season he moved from Cornerback to Safety for the first time in his career. He took advantage of the extra year of eligibility and returned to Corvallis for his sixth season in 2023. His coverage skills produced a career-best opponent passer rating of just 61.3. Oladapo, who is known for changing his hair color from game to game, graduated with his degree in design and innovation management from Oregon State in May of 2023. He accepted his invitation to the 2024 Senior Bowl where he likely caught the eye of the Packers. While in Mobile he was the “man-coverage king” during practice, locking down everyone lined up over him. This display of great technique surely showed Green Bay he could be a part of their plans for the Safety position. 

It is easy to see why the Packers wanted to add Kitan to the mix as they revamp the Safety position on this roster. Oladapo has impressive size and physicality, making him a force to be reckoned with in the secondary. As he showed at the Senior Bowl, he can mirror and matchup  with anyone and has, quite possibly, the best footwork of any Safety in this draft; maybe demonstrating a benefit of all the time spent on the soccer pitch. 

Kitan Oladapo: Green Bay Packer

I knew I wanted to know more about Kitan after seeing the video of him getting The Call on draft day. Like all players, he was excited and his family was thrilled, but I sensed a deeper significance in his reaction that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. 

Last weekend in his first locker room interview, however, Kitan explained that he was a Packer fan growing up. “There it is”, I thought. Kitan was living the dream within a dream. Oladapo talked about how much he loved watching Aaron Rodgers, Jordy Nelson and Brett Favre as a kid. He even wore Sterling Sharpe’s number in youth football to honor him (something else we have in common). 

Kitan will offer the Packers maximum scheme versatility, which they’ve told us is the factor they were looking for above all else. Oladapo can line up outside, in the box, and in single-high looks. His film shows a player quick to trigger and close to blow-up screens and quick route concepts. He shows great promise in the short area or red zone where he could be used to simply eliminate the player he’s covering from the play.  He may also be able to play Linebacker in some Big Nickel packages as he has shown himself to be very active in the run game. 

Next Steps

Kitan unfortunately broke his toe doing drills at the combine. He muscled through the injury to work out for scouts at his Pro Day, a show of toughness which must have impressed some of them. The downside of staying active is that he was only able to have surgery during the week before the draft. Unfortunately, this meant he was unable to participate in this year’s Rookie Minicamp and his availability for Training Camp will be an open question throughout the summer. Kitan says he is targeting an August return to the field. 

The Packers 2024 draft class brings a lot of talent to compete for Safety reps so Kitan can’t afford to fall far behind. Hopefully, he is a fast healer and will be ready to go once the pads come on. I’ll be rooting for him and look forward to seeing what role he is able to carve out for himself on this young team. Go Pack, go!