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Jamal Adams, S, LSU
6’0 214 lbs
Tape Viewed: 2015 vs. Alabama, 2016 vs. Auburn, 2016 vs. Texas A&M, 2016 vs. Alabama
Already an outstanding player early in his LSU career, Adams added a new dimension of polish and urgency to his game in his final collegiate season. Very few plays on tape show Adams even remotely struggling.
While he’s an outstanding in-the-box safety who clearly likes to be close to the ball and set the tone, some of his most impressive plays on tape showcase his insane range playing from the deep middle. One knock I have is that he doesn’t appear to have much experience playing that “last-line-of-defense” role. I do, however, think he projects really well into that role.
He also has an ideally sturdy build which goes well with his rangy, physical style of play. When you think of the term enforcer on a football field, you need look no further.
Play Recognition: 14 out of 15
Adams looks like he has a deep intelligence and understanding of the keys to read nearly any offense. There are few times where he appears to be out of position.
Speed: 5 out of 5
His 4.56 40 time notwithstanding, Adams’ speed on the field pops on tape constantly. He covers ground so quickly that he often reacts on screens before the receivers do.
Pursuit: 8 out of 10
This is a tough one to grade because Adams has the ability to close space so effectively on horizontal plays, but when plays move vertically, he struggles a bit and gives up ground. This doesn’t always happen, but it’s often enough to be notable.
Man: 3 out of 5
On a 5-yard out against Texas A&M, Adams runs the route better than the receiver, coming from the middle of the field. This shows his potential and ability to read the hips of receivers. His reaction time is outstanding, but his hips aren’t as fluid as they need to be.
Zone: 8 out of 10
The knock I have on Adams here is his ability in deep zone. There are times where he allows receivers to get behind him which is a concern for the next level where better QBs will torch him if he doesn’t clean it up. He does, however, have brilliant plays all over the rest of the field in zone.
Tackle: 9 out of 10
Adams uses a player’s momentum and leverage against them by wrapping up their legs and allowing them to take themselves down. This is consistently effective. When a player is already engaged, Adams also knows to go for the ball.
Ball Skills: 3 out of 5
In 2015, he had 4 interceptions, but this was an anomaly. While Adams has all of the attributes to be a ball-hawk and didn’t drop any opportunities that I saw, he needs to find a way to be in position to pick the ball off more, or at least rack up more PBU’s.
Tackle: 8 out of 10
He improved a lot in this regard from early in his career to 2016, where he not only increased his total tackles, but TFL’s to career best. However, as Adams tends to be flying around near the line of scrimmage, he sometimes forgets to sink his hips which causes him to fly off the players he intends to tackle.
Play Recognition: 15 out of 15
Adams is pretty unbelievable in this regard. He’s almost always the first to recognize a play-fake. This is showcased in the 2015 game against Alabama on a fake end around bootleg where Adams was the only one that stayed with QB Jake Coker. He turned what was undoubtedly a 15 yard gain into a TFL.
Willingness: 5 out of 5
Adams appears to be happiest and most eager on the field mixing it up at the LOS, flying in, even through interior lanes, to be involved in run defense.
Reliability: 10 out of 10
Adams has the character, squeaky clean injury history, stout frame, leadership qualities and empty rap sheet that makes him among the safest picks in this draft.
Total Prospect Rating: 88 out of 100
Pro Comparison: Reshad Jones, S, Miami Dolphins
While Jones is a more accomplished ball-hawk, both players share the same leadership ability, knack for the tone-setting play and outstanding run defense. Jones and Adams share a stout frame which allows them to deliver serious force as tacklers, and serious range to make plays all over the field and rally the defense on any given play.