LSU safety Jamal Adams entered this season looking to continue building his NFL Draft resume. Adams, whose father was a former first-round pick of the Giants, enters his second year as a starter at safety for the Tigers on defense.
Adams posted back-to-back 60 plus tackle seasons for LSU as a freshman and sophomore. He’s an aggressive physical safety who seems to always be around the ball. Through seven games so far in 2016 Adams already has close to 50 tackles as he is looking more and more like one of the better safety prospects in the 2017 NFL draft.
What makes Adams such an attractive prospect is that he possesses good size with long arms, and is highly athletic. He looks to have good instincts as he is able to quickly diagnose what the offense is attempting to run, and will quickly attack it closing in with an outstanding burst.
He provides a physical presence in the middle of the field capable of attacking downhill delivering big hits. Adams is an aggressive inside the box safety who is able to get “skinny” and penetrate the backfield or come in off the edge, flatten and chase down a ball carrier from the backside. He is able to set a hard edge and funnel the action back inside. With his ability to wrap up and tackle ball carriers at or near the line of scrimmage, he can give the opposing offense the impression that there is an extra linebacker out on the field.
While in coverage, Adams shows good awareness as he is able to close in quickly on anything in front of him. Plus, he displays good route anticipation as is able to seemingly get to a spot as the ball arrives. His athleticism allows him to jump on top of routes out to the flats, as well as cover any area of the field between the hash marks and sidelines.
Adams is a competitive player who not only provides a physical presence but also brings with him a swagger/confidence along with leadership that permeates throughout the rest of his defensive teammates.
There are a couple of aspects to his game where Adams could look to improve upon or clean up this season.
First, his aggressiveness out on the field can lead to him taking bad angles while in pursuit or when looking to close in on a ball carrier. Not possessing elite speed, Adams’ bad angles can allow runners to separate from him or easily turn the corner and head up field. Although his aggression permits him to be the player he is and is not something you want to temper, what you would like to see is Adams take the proper angle and cut down on a number of those big gains.
Secondly, Adams will try to wrap up high instead of going low and securing the tackle. A number of his missed tackles could be attributed to him coming in too high, and failing to wrap up and bring the runner to the ground.
Otherwise, when Adams does get low and wraps up the legs, he is a sure tackler who can roll his hips and tackle through his target.
Adams’ strengths project him as more of an in-the-box safety who is versatile enough to drop back into coverage and help defend the back end of the defense. When you couple his instincts, size, and the aggressive nature in which he plays, there are not many defensive secondary prospects that look more NFL ready than Adams.
Assuming the third-year junior declares for the 2017 draft, there is a high probability that he can play himself into a top ten selection, this season, and possibly even a top five spot since he projects to provide an upgrade to a team’s run defense as well as their coverage units.