Andy Benoit is the film guru for Sports Illustrated’s MMQB.
2. Familiarize yourself with Jamal Adams—he can be First-Team All-Pro by season’s end. The 2017 sixth overall pick has a dynamic, springy playing speed that puts him near the ball in unconventional ways. He can do everything you’d ask of a safety.
3. Adams isn’t the only source of electricity in the middle of this D. In terms of pure physical playing speed, third-year pro Darron Lee has assumed the great Ryan Shazier’s title of Football’s Fastest Linebacker. Yes Lee, like Jamal Adams, must become more disciplined. That’s not atypical of fast young players. More important is that, also like Adams, Lee can cover backs and tight ends man-to-man and provide explosive second-level pass rushing.
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I highlight these two point because for any team to succeed, first round picks need to play like first round picks. For the Jets defense to be Playoff caliber this season, both Adams and Lee need to make strides.
Adams is looking to build off a solid rookie season. Now in year two the team needs more. He might not necessarily need to reach that lofty First Team All Pro status to justify the Jets’ investment of the sixth overall Draft pick in him, but they will need something close given the value of the position he plays. Given the work he did as a rookie, it isn’t a stretch to believe he can improve to that level.
Lee’s path forward is less clear. I think it is difficult to argue he has played at the level you would expect from a first round pick so far. This might be his make or break season. He has been in this system for two years, and he isn’t transitioning to the linebacker position anymore. The physical tools are there. The question is whether things will click.