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2017 NFL Draft Preview: SS Jamal Adams

© Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

LSU’s leader will likely be a high pick, and reminds me a lot of another former SEC safety

College Career 

It’s rare that a freshman gets significant playing time on LSU’s perpetually loaded defense, but it did not take long for Adams to make an impact in Death Valley. He was the only freshman in the Les Miles era to be named captain for a game, and his leadership grew over the years. He was absolutely loved by his coaches and was the clear emotional leader of the LSU defense the past two seasons where he starred at both safety spots and even nickel corner. He racked up four interceptions in 2015 while playing more of a free safety role and played closer to the line more often last year on his way to a career high of 76 tackles.  

Pros

Adams possesses the rare mix of exceptional intangibles and elite athleticism. His enthusiasm for the game is contagious, and he will immediately add an edge to any team that gets him. He had a very good combine, showing good long speed with a 4.56 40 and great short area quickness with his 4.13 20 yard shuttle. Throw in 10’ broad jump and 31.5” vertical and it is clear what kind of an athlete Adams is. He plays even faster than his times, as he comes downhill against the run like a missile. 

He can lay you out with a big hit when needed, but I love how he breaks down and wraps up ball carriers in the open field. He rarely over-pursues despite his aggressiveness. What really sets Adams apart is his anticipation and instincts; he’s one of those players that just seems to be at the right place at the right time every play. There won’t be much of a rookie learning curve with him.  

Cons 

It is difficult to find a major flaw in Adams’ game. People love saying how he can thrive in either safety role, but I don’t see him as a centerfield type free safety. He is really at his best coming downhill and can look a bit stiff in coverage, such as when he got turned around for a long catch vs Louisville. 

Verdict 

Adams is a blue-chip talent. With so many teams needing secondary help, I don’t see Adams falling out of the top 10, with Chicago at #3 being his ceiling. He is reminiscent of Giants safety Landon Collins when he came out of Alabama. Collins was miscast as a free safety his rookie year, but then became a star this past season when the G-men let him roam closer to the line of scrimmage. I see Adams thriving in the same role and also becoming a game-changing player early in his career.

Edited by Brian Kang, Peyten Maki.

SQuiz
Which of these safeties was selected in the 1st Round?
Created 3/16/17
  1. Tyrann Mathieu
  2. Kam Chancellor
  3. Calvin Pryor
  4. Landon Collins

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