Between now and preseason, we’ll be breaking down the Jets’ undrafted rookies. However, we’re taking take a break from that because the Jets just made another veteran addition. Today, we break down former Bears and Packers safety Adrian Amos in detail.
The 30-year old Amos is listed at 6’0” and 218 pounds and has been a productive player in his NFL career so far. He’s started at least 10 games in each of his eight pro seasons and 122 overall. During that time, he’s racked up over 500 tackles, six sacks and 10 interceptions. He’s also recorded another three interceptions in the postseason.
Amos was a three-star high school recruit who began his college career at Penn State as a cornerback. During his first season in 2011, he only had 13 tackles in a reserve role, but did intercept one pass and broke up four others. His role increased in his sophomore season, as he had 44 tackles and two interceptions. He earned all-Big Ten Honorable Mention honors for the first time.
In 2013 and 2014 he started at safety and was again named as an all-conference honorable mention in each year. He had career-highs of 50 tackles, four tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks in 2013 and set career marks with three interceptions and six pass breakups as a senior. In all, he had 148 tackles, seven interceptions, 15 pass break-ups and three sacks.
Amos was a projected mid-round selection but his stock rose during the pre-draft process as he turned heads at the Senior Bowl and scouting combine. Some experts felt he might be a day two pick. However, Amos lasted in the fifth round, where he was selected by the Bears.
He made an instant impact in Chicago, winning a starting role and starting every game as a rookie and 14 more games in his second season.
In 2017, he lost his starting role to Eddie Jackson but still ended up starting 10 games and intercepting the first pass of his career, which he returned for a 90-yard score. Amos then started every game with Jackson as his counterpart in 2018 and had another two interceptions.
Amos signed for Green Bay in 2019 and has started all 66 games for them over the past four seasons. Throughout that time, he continued to fill up the stat sheet. He had seven interceptions and four sacks in four years with the Packers.
In 2022, Amos set career-high marks with 102 tackles and seven tackles for loss, but the Packers opted not to re-sign him and the Jets made a move for him last week after Chuck Clark suffered a serious knee injury.
Now let’s take a look at what Amos brings to the table, divided into categories.
Amos has good size and length. He didn’t do a full workout at the scouting combine but posted excellent explosiveness numbers and an elite short shuttle. However, his three-cone drill was poor and he ran a disappointing 4.56 in the 40-yard dash.
At his pro day, Amos dispelled any speed concerns by running sub-4.4 and also posted an impressive 21 bench press reps. Now that he has turned 30, it’s reasonable to ask if he’s lost a step but he still can demonstrate good burst to the ball.
Amos has played both as a free safety and a strong safety with experience in all the roles that both entail. He began his NFL career as a free safety, but then initially moved to strong safety when Jackson became the starting free safety. However, in his last year in Chicago the pair were more or less interchangeable.
In Green Bay, he has played in the box more often but still played as a deep safety more often than not. He was mostly paired with Darnell Savage.
At the start of his college career and in high school, Amos had played as a cornerback before making the switch to safety in 2013.
Amos’ coverage numbers over the course of his career have been pretty good but he has been beaten for 12 touchdowns over the past two years and gave up a quarterback rating of over 120 when targeted last season - his highest since 2016.
With that experience as a cornerback, Amos’ teams haven’t shied away from using him in direct coverage matchups. However, bulking up to play as a safety at the NFL level perhaps means he doesn’t move around as smoothly as he used to.
Amos can latch onto coverage assignments down the field and displays good closing and recovery speed.
Amos has 13 interceptions in his career, if you include postseason games, although two is the most he’s ever had in any regular season campaign. He’s also been consistent in terms of breaking up passes with 39 passes defensed in the last five seasons. However, he’s never had 10 in any season.
Amos can react well to mistakes and tipped passes but is also capable of outcompeting a receiver and coming down with the ball.
His positional sense in zone coverage is good, which puts him in a position to use his closing speed, length and timing to make a lot of plays on the ball.
Amos was never a particularly productive tackler in college, with 50 total tackles being the most he ever had in a season. However, at the NFL level he has had at least 65 every season and his numbers have continued to climb upwards over the course of his career.
His tackle efficiency has improved over time, as he’s never missed more than 10 in a season. In 2022, he only missed four tackles despite averaging eight per season until that point.
Amos can pack a punch with big hits and also displays good closing speed as a tackler but generally does a good job of staying under control.
He did not record a single forced fumble in college, but does have three forced fumbles at the NFL level.
He has been flagged once for tripping at the NFL level.
Scouting reports dating back to when Amos was drafted indicate that he was not much of a contributor in run support and unwilling to get too involved in that aspect of playing the safety position. Amos has proved these concerns false by developing into an excellent run defender.
While he does good work in the box, he will come up aggressively to fill running lanes even when playing deep.
Amos has shown he is adept at negotiating traffic and can creep up to the edge or run blitz up the middle with good effectiveness.
Amos has developed a reputation as a big hitter. However, what’s notable about some of his highlights is that his hits are clean and legal.
He has only been flagged once in his career for an illegal hit. This was a helmet-to-helmet hit on Zach Ertz in the 2018 wild card game.
Amos is also physical in coverage, both in terms of slowing down opponents coming off the line and as he competes for the ball. Despite this, he has averaged just one coverage penalty per season (six pass interference calls, one defensive holding and one illegal contact).
Amos had three sacks in college and has six at the NFL level but doesn’t blitz very much. He’s only had once season where he averaged more than one pass rush per game. His only sack in 2022 didn’t come on a rush. Instead, he was spying the quarterback and came up to tackle him for no gain when he rolled out.
He has generated pressure at a decent clip when they do send him and his burst, strength and finishing ability makes him a good fit for this role.
Amos hadn’t been playing much special teams in recent seasons but got back onto the kick coverage unit in 2022 and came up with a career-high five special teams stops. He has 14 career tackles in kick coverage.
Aside from covering kicks, Amos has featured on the kick block unit, in punt protection and on the punt cover unit either as a vice or rushing punts. He’s also had a few snaps blocking on the kick return unit. He hasn’t made much impact in any of these roles.
Amos has worked hard to improve his ability to read and react after pre-draft scouting reports were not high on his instincts. He did have some bad mental errors early on in his career though.
Since that time, he has developed into a good communicator who is regarded as dependable and typically in the right place.
These days Amos seems to be a lot faster in his ability to make a quick read and attack the ball carrier.
Amos grew up in a household with his father - a police officer - being a strict disciplinarian. This has naturally given Amos some good habits and he is known for a good work ethic. The Packers named him as a team captain last season.
His on-field discipline has been good with only 11 penalties in regular season and postseason action, but he has been fined twice - once for the aforementioned hit on Ertz and the other one on a low block following a turnover.
Amos has been extremely dependable over the course of his career, starting every game over the past five seasons. In fact, 2017 was the only year when he played fewer than 900 snaps.
Back in 2016, he had to have an offseason shoulder surgery, something which was described at the time as “more than a scope”. He also has three documented concussions, although he hasn’t missed much time from these and they were a few seasons apart on each occasion.
There was already a lot of discourse about the Jets’ safety position and how they would align themselves with Clark and Jordan Whitehead both being regarded as more like a box safety than a coverage safety. There was some talk that they could be interchangeable or even that they could use someone else as a deep safety in certain packages and operate with three safeties.
If Amos is viewed as a direct replacement for Clark, all of this could remain true. However, Amos has more experience as a deep safety than Clark does. Furthermore, unlike Clark, he seems to have played some of his best football when aligned deep. He might therefore complement Whitehead better than Clark did and allow the Jets to play more traditionally.
One thing that’s interesting about the Jets’ system specifically is that they apparently played more quarters coverages than any other team last year. Clearly they are not necessarily relying on a single high safety while the other one drops into the box.
Amos played on a Bears team which played a lot of cover-2, which again would mean he’s dropping into coverage plenty of the time even if he’s the strong safety. However, when he went to Green Bay, they didn’t play much cover-2 and instead favored quarters coverages.
The statistics indicate that the Packers struggled badly in quarters coverage (ranking dead last in the NFL by giving up a 15-yard play 26 percent of the time according to 247 Sports) and were really good at Cover-2 (ranking first overall with no 15-yard plays). They even started to play more Cover-2 towards the end of last season. While we cannot say Amos was a main reason behind this discrepancy, it does make you wonder how well he could fit what the Jets would usually do.
Another wrinkle here is the fact that the Jets were criticized last year for not playing Cover-2 against the Bengals, who had just lost their first two games with Joe Burrow struggling against two Cover-2 heavy teams.
The Jets moved quickly to bring in an established starting safety with plenty of experience once they got the news about Clark’s injury and, much like when they signed Duane Brown last year following the Mekhi Becton injury, it was about the best move available to them.
Amos has been a very good player over the years but the Jets will have to hope that the downturn in his coverage numbers is not a sign he’s past his prime as he enters his thirties. The fact he was still available in mid-June suggests other teams may have had this same concern.
As for how he’s going to fit into the defense, this shouldn’t be a major concern as both the system and Amos himself are flexible enough that he should fit well into whatever role they have planned for him. We could yet see a young safety like Tony Adams jump into the mix too, though, so Amos will need to stay on his game.