PFF scouting report: Jamal Adams, S, LSU
Name: Jamal Adams
Position fit: Interchangeable safety capable of playing both near the line of scrimmage and deep in coverage. Can also play in the slot or cover tight ends.
Stats to know: 33 tackles resulting in a defensive stop were tied for seventh among safeties in college in 2016
What he does best:
- As well-rounded a prospect as there is in this draft class, with the fifth-best coverage grade, and fourth-best run-defense grade among safeties in 2016.
- Played well in three seasons at LSU, but saw a big boost to grades and stats in 2016, seeing his total number of defensive stops rise from 23 in 2015 to 33 in 2016.
- Versatile enough to cover in the slot, with 251 of his 802 snaps last year coming from the slot.
- Looks like a cornerback when playing “off” coverage. Has some analysts intrigued that he’s capable of converting to a cornerback full-time if needed.
- Improved as a tackler in his junior year. Missed a tackle once every 6.4 attempts in 2015, but just once every 11.1 attempted in 2016. Plays with great balance in the open field, though he’ll have his fair share of whiffs.
- Very athletic, able to get to the ball quickly, break down, and finish the play.
- Strong read-and-react skills in the passing game allowed him to cause problems for offenses at or around the line of scrimmage. Recorded 14 tackles resulting in a defensive stop in coverage.
- Good ball skills when tested. Recorded five interceptions and nine pass breakups in coverage in 2016
- Throws his body around on the goal line, will leap over blockers to try to get in on the play
- Lacks the range of fellow safety prospect Malik Hooker. Not a great fit as a true single high safety.
- Still could be more consistent as a tackler. Saw huge improvement in 2016, but still ranked just 32nd among safeties in terms of tackling efficiency.
- Got caught out of position or over pursuing against the run several times late in the year. Not a consistent problem, but worth noting.
Player comparison: Eric Weddle, Baltimore Ravens
Weddle has shown over his career that you don’t need to have the rare range on an Earl Thomas or Ed Reed to make a huge impact at safety. An equally well-rounded prospect, there’s no reason Adams can’t have a career as long as impressive as Weddle while making an impact near the line of scrimmage, in the slot, or on the back end in coverage.
The biggest knock on Adams is that he doesn’t have freaky range. That shouldn’t stop him being a top safety at the next level, and when you look at his body of work in college, there’s every reason to believe he is going to develop into a very special player.