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Player Spotlight: S Jamal Adams

A detailed look at Jamal Adams' fantasty prospects for 2017 and beyond.

POSITIVES

  • Adams comes from a pedigreed NFL family and is a natural leader.

  • He is a prototypical box safety who enjoys thumping runners.

  • Adams has coverage skills, which will keep him from getting pulled off the field in passing situations.

NEGATIVES

  • His range and recovery speed are not best-in-class.

  • Adams puts his hands all over receivers, which will draw pass interference calls in the pros.

  • He will need to get better at not getting duped on play-action. 

JET SWEEP 

The past week brought unexpected and somewhat confusing news from the Meadowlands. Both linebacker David Harris and wide receiver Eric Decker were told they would soon be let go, presumably to free up salary cap money. The Jets now appear to be in full rebuilding mode. The signs of a rebuilding mentality were also there in the way New York approached this year’s free agency and the Draft. In free agency, the Jets did very little. Their biggest signings were left tackle Kelvin Beachum and cornerback Morris Claiborne. They had other minor signings, such as adding kicker Chandler Catanzaro; but these few moves did little to address the many holes on the roster. In the Draft, the Jets chose to take what many analysts perceived as the safest pick in this class by selecting LSU safety Jamal Adams as the number six overall pick. 

AMAZING ADAMS

There is much to like about Adams. He comes from an NFL bloodline, which NFL personnel like to see. His dad was a running back in the NFL from 1985-1991 and won a Super Bowl. There is no doubt that Adams learned about what is expected of a player on and off the field from his father. This translated to Adams becoming a leader of his secondary and often the entire team at LSU. Those who have coached him and played with him rave about his ability to motivate. On a team that will likely be at the bottom of the league in 2017, they will need this type of personality to keep teammates engaged and keep the locker room culture from becoming a losing one.

Adams isn’t just a leader -- he’s also a superb player. At six feet and 214 pounds, he’s well-built to play an in-the-box safety role. Additionally, he’s a hard hitter that doesn’t shy away from contact. While it isn’t his biggest strength, Adams can cover competently against slot receivers and tight ends, meaning he’ll likely not be taken off the field for passing down work. He is patient and doesn’t often overrun the play. Adams also demonstrates great play recognition, crashing down to make stops at or behind the line of scrimmage. His tackling technique is sound and he does not usually get off balance or leave his feet attempting to make a stop.

ADAMS AS ADVERTISED?

Adams doesn’t have many weaknesses and the few that he has make one feel like one is nitpicking. Speed is perhaps the biggest knock on Adams. He doesn’t exhibit the extreme range and recovery speed that some of the other safeties in this class show. However, as he won’t be used as a free safety, the lack of speed won’t hurt him as much. In coverage, Adams likes to use his hands and will grab receivers in an attempt to keep them from separating. He’ll need to clean this up because he will get flagged more often at the NFL level if he does not. Adams had some instances on his tape where he would get taken out of the play because he became overly aggressive on a play-action style offensive play and did not see that the running back did not have the ball. His technique issues are all fixable problems that the coaching staff will endeavor to correct early. 

FINAL THOUGHTS

In redraft formats, Adams has the potential to make an immediate impact. With a bad team, ample opportunity on his defense, and the skills of a top-end in-the-box safety, Adams has the perfect storm to be impactful in his rookie year. His ADP at this writing is steadily climbing, but one can still get Adams many rounds after Landon Collins and Keanu Neal. For a defensive back that is likely to finish in the top ten at his position, that is stellar value.

Adams also has a favorable outlook in dynasty formats. The linebacker group in from of him is a liability outside of Daron Lee. There will be ample opportunity for defensive snaps, as the Jets offense will struggle to stay on the field. This team rebuild is likely to be a multi-year work in which Adams will be a key piece of the puzzle. Don’t hesitate to take Adams in the early third round of your rookie draft if your offensive board has dried up.

2017 PROJECTIONS

AARON RUDNICKI’S PROJECTIONS

G

TKL

AST

SCK

FF

FR

PD

INT

TD

FPT

16

72

34

1

1

1

7

2

0

164 .00

JOHN NORTON'S PROJECTIONS

G

TKL

AST

SCK

FF

FR

PD

INT

TD

FPT

9

74

27

0

2

1

7

1

0

155 .75

OTHER VIEWPOINTS

Lance Zierlien of NFL.com raves about Adams in his scouting profile:

Interchangeable safety with a sheriff's mentality. Adams is a physical tone-setter who should thrive near the line of scrimmage or in a robber role. Should be a commanding presence in the locker room early on and his do-as-I-do play demeanor could be the catalyst for turning a struggling defense around quickly.

Charlie Campbell of Walterfootball.com compares Adams to Adrian Wilson:

In the NFL, I think that Adams could be a similar player to Wilson. Wilson spent a decade as one of the best strong safeties in the NFL. He was a third-round pick in 2001 out of N.C. State, but obviously Wilson should have been drafted higher. Both Wilson and Adams are physical football players who are always around the ball. Wilson (6-3, 230) is bigger than Adams, but when Wilson entered the NFL, he was 213 pounds. Over his impressive career, Wilson was a five-time Pro Bowler and three-time All-Pro selection. Adams has a similar game to Wilson and could be a potential special strong safety.

The PFF analysis team acknowledges an Adams weakness, but feels he can still be a top option:

The biggest knock on Adams is that he doesn’t have freaky range. That shouldn’t stop him being a top safety at the next level, and when you look at his body of work in college, there’s every reason to believe he is going to develop into a very special player.