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NY Jets: Were the Scouting Reports Right? - Jamal Adams

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Los Angeles Chargers v New York Jets Photo by Ed Mulholland/Getty Images

Some players come into the league and smash expectations into submission. Others, they come into the league and fall awfully short of expectations.

How does it happen, though? Are players who thrive simply better versions of who we thought they were, or are they capable of things we didn’t imagine them being capable of pre-draft? When players flop, is it because we thought they could do things they simply can’t, or maybe because they had issues we ignored or tossed aside?

Thus begins a series of articles I’ll be putting out on recent Jets draft picks, comparing my perception of their NFL play styles to their pre-draft scouting reports. Whether bust or star, have the Jets been getting the kinds of players they thought they’d be?

Let’s start with Jamal Adams.

From NFL.com, here’s a look at the positive end of his scouting report entering the 2017 draft.

Natural-born leader of men. Well-built. Will not hesitate for one second as a hitter. Steps downhill looking to punish running backs to set a tone for defense. Toggles between patient and urgent in treks to the ball. Plays off blockers. Approaches target with open arms and wide, balanced base to limit escape routes. Intelligent field general. Gets secondary aligned properly. Plays with plus balance in coverage. Pattern reader who can digest combinations. Alert for misdirection keys from offense. Party crasher on screen plays. Can handle coverage responsibilities against tight ends. Five interceptions and two recovered fumbles over last two seasons at LSU. Special-teams terror as freshman and sophomore, notching 21 tackles. No penalties in 2016. Father, George, was a first-round pick of the Giants in 1984.

What seems right?

  • Adams’ leadership was hammered home throughout the entire pre-draft process. A lot of times that can turn out to be meaningless fluff, but that could not be further from the truth in relation to Adams. His leadership and intensity has been glaringly evident since he stepped foot in New Jersey.
  • Lots of talk on here about his intangibles; “Toggles between patient and urgent in treks to the ball,” “plays off blockers,” “Gets secondary aligned properly,” “Pattern reader.” I agree with all of that. His IQ and instincts were very apparent and are special for a day one safety. It’s this natural football mind that has me believing he’ll clean up his issues and become a consistent star.

What seems off?

  • “Can handle coverage responsibilities against tight ends” - Can he? Absolutely he can. We saw strokes of genius against Gronk and Kelce. However, his entire body of work in coverage against tight ends was not good, as he gave up a multitude of scores to tight ends. This is something Adams himself has admitted he needs to work on. He absolutely flashed the ability to play physical with the big guys in coverage, he just has to nail down the little nuances to become more consistent in that area.
  • “Will not hesitate for one second as a hitter. Steps downhill looking to punish running backs to set a tone for defense.” Jamal Adams can absolutely lay a hard hit. He’s an above-average athlete with a muscular, strong build for a safety. Despite that I think he had an alarming tendency to go for diving ankle tackles, often missing. I think his run defense was very strong overall, but I definitely think he needs to cut down on those weak attempts. For a guy with hard-hitting potential, we saw a bit too much of that.

His weaknesses:

Handsy and too willing to clamp onto receivers down the field. Hard-charging downhill, but a little stiff when asked to retreat. Long speed appears to be average on tape. Eyes drop when targets approach his area. Anticipation is average, limiting his range as a center-fielder. Will give away some interceptions due to drops. Slower coming to balance as tackler on bursting runners between the tackles. Desire to limit cutbacks leads to challenging play-side tackles. Doesn’t pursue with expected vigor from across the field. Aggressiveness opens him up against play-action.

What seems right?

  • “Will give away some interceptions due to drops” - they were right about this one, at least for one year. Adams had at least a few potential picks slip through his grasp. It’s another one I know he has personally acknowledged, and hopefully he can get that cleaned up. I was pretty surprised that this was actually noted pre-draft, good catch there.

What seems off?

  • I don’t think he was a “handsy” player. Playing mostly against tight ends in coverage, he was probably given a lot of leeway by the officials due to the size discrepancy, and usually took advantage with physicality. I thought he was effectively physical without going overboard.

Takeaway:

I think when the Jets got Jamal Adams we were expecting a versatile, smart, intense leader in the back end of the defense. And that is exactly what we got here in New York. However, similar to Leonard Williams a couple years prior, Adams was gleamed about as if his immensity of tools made him arguably the best player in his draft. He certainly was not close to that in Year One. Can he get there? Absolutely. Is he already a very solid player who flashed an immense ceiling? 100%. Still, eventually the Jets need to get bona fide gamechanging superstars with their top-six picks. Will Adams be one of them? He’s got a tremendous chance to.

What do you think? Is Adams pretty much the player you thought the Jets were getting, or was he somebody who brought a package to the table you weren’t expecting?

Poll

Is Jamal Adams the kind of player you thought he was?

This poll is closed

  • 35%
    Yes, he’s what I expected skillset-wise, and beat my expectations performance-wise
    (439 votes)
  • 56%
    Yes, he’s what I expected skillset-wise, but fell short of my expectations performance-wise
    (701 votes)
  • 2%
    No, he’s not what I expected skillset-wise, but in a good way; he beat my performance expectations
    (31 votes)
  • 5%
    No, he’s not the style of player I thought he was, and he is also worse than I thought
    (62 votes)
1233 votes total Vote Now