Now that the NFL Draft Combine has wrapped up, we now have the fullest view we can get of most of the draft’s prospects. This allows us to finalize rankings, or our so called “big boards,” and determine who us experts have ranked in order based on talent. There are plenty of talented prospects across all possible rounds of the draft, and there will surely be steals and busts labeled everywhere. Players will be knocked for random things, and we’ll hear plenty from “an anonymous scout” until the Draft rolls around in late April. One of the guys who may have some news and highlights around him is former LSU safety Jamal Adams. Adams enjoyed a breakout year in 2016 where he showed his skillset that makes him arguably the most talented safety in the draft. While others may be better in one area or another, Adams has the best all-around talent of all. The goal of Describe in Five is to try to get the best picture of a prospect in just five .gifs, with an explanation behind each one. While you can see who we’ve already discussed here, we are going to focus our attention on the former Tiger, Adams.
5. vs. Alabama (2016)
This play is able to show off Adams’ zone coverage ability. He reads Aabama quarterback Jalen Hurts’ eyes to understand where he wants to go with the ball, and gets himself into position to make a play where receiver ArDarius Stewart should be. While Hurts may have been targeting the underneath receiver, he overthrows his man and Adams is able to make a play on the ball during Alabama’s first offensive possession. The LSU safety’s ability to play in zone is a major part of the game as a safety, and Adams clearly has this talent.
4. vs. Texas A&M (2016)
This play helps show off Adams’ play recognition and burst to get to the ball. As soon as the ball is snapped and he sees the two outside receivers blocking, he knows this is a screen pass. His man is the receiver, so he attacks the ball before it is thrown, and shows up in time to stop the target behind the line of scrimmage for a loss of a yard or two. This is exactly what you want to see from a defensive back in man coverage, and it is a great example of Adams’ “football IQ”. He is also able to make a secure low tackle, which he hasn’t always shown the ability to do. Sniffing out plays before they happen is a special talent in the NFL, and when a young player like Adams can do it, it is a great indicator for his success at the next level, as long as he continues to be correct.
3. vs. Wisconsin (2016)
One of Jamal Adams’ greatest skills is his ability to sniff out ball carriers, and it especially shows in his run defense. While he isn’t making the tackle on Wisconsin back Corey Clement, you can see him “sift through trash” and make his way to the ball carrier, and he is the only defender not on the play-side to get to the ball. Being able to sift through trash and flow to the play is an ability that linebackers and defensive backs should be able to showcase in the run game, and here Adams does it well. His talent at finding the ball carrier is special, and it helps add to his case in the hopes of him getting selected early on in the draft.
2. vs. Florida (2016)
While Adams is a hard hitter that is considered strong for his position, there are times where it does not show. This also shows his poor tackling technique at times. Florida’s running back, Jordan Scarlett, is a decent power runner, but Adams should be able to bring him down here. He attacks the ball carrier too high, and instead of going for a low, secure tackle, keeps trying to bring him down up high as he is carried for an extra 10 yards. This is an issue that some players show in college, where they go for the highlight play like stripping the ball or laying the wood on a ball carrier, and instead are made to look foolish. Here Adams is the victim, but this won’t always happen to him.
1. vs. Texas Tech (2015 Texas Bowl)
Adams again shows off his great ability to attack ball carriers and read plays early. It’s also a play that shows off his skillset against another highly regarded talent in this year’s draft, Texas Tech quarterback Pat Mahomes. Here the Red Raiders are running a screen pass, and Adams sees the delay from the back and the offensive lineman break away from the strong side. Adams reads this and makes a break for the running back as soon as Mahomes turns to face the play. As the back starts to come down with the ball, Adams is there to lay a hard hit on him, making him drop the ball and possibly force a fumble. The mental side of football is more than half the battle, and Adams’ mental capacity when it comes to the passing game is incredibly important. He is a special player here, and he should be able to continue this trend into his NFL game.
Jamal Adams is well deserving of being given the title of the best safety in the 2017 NFL Draft. He hows the ability to play the passing game both in man and zone, and he is a great run defender. His hard hits add even more value to his game, as well as his special teams ability (he played as a gunner for the punt team at LSU). While he could use some work on his tackling ability, Adams is a special talent at a position that doesn’t have as much value as others. While convention may say that drafting a safety in the top 10 of the draft is a bad idea, if a team is going to do it, they should choose Jamal Adams.