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NY Jets Off the Clock: First-Round Pick Safety Jamal Adams, LSU
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4 May 2017 04:53 PM EST

-by Daniel Mogollon, Staff Writer; Image: Safety Jamal Adams with the NFL commissioner. (Image Source: Elsa/Getty Images)

The New York Jets had nine picks in the 2017 NFL Draft, with six coming on Day 3. As we take the Jets “Off the Clock,” we’ll break down all nine of their draft picks, starting with their first-round selection:

Round 1; Pick 6 (6th Overall): S Jamal Adams, LSU

Measurables: At 214 pounds, Adams has ideal bulk for a safety with some of the longest arms (33 3/8”; 93rd percentile) among the prospects at his position. In most of the timed drills, Adams was average at best (4.56 40-yard dash) and well below average in some (31 ½” vertical jump; 8th percentile). He did put up an impressive 4.13 short shuttle, a drill geared towards defensive backs, which left him at the 72nd percentile for safeties at the NFL Scouting Combine. As for his SPARQ score, the Bayou Bengal was just 37th among safeties, well behind prospects like UConn’s Obi Melifonwu and Jabrill Peppers out of Michigan.

Skill Set: While Adams is not a top-notch athlete, scouts have raved about his ability to play football. An elite tackler, he’s capable of delivering a devastating blow without sacrificing technique and consistency. Plays at his best near the line of scrimmage and not just against the run. In coverage, he can handle tight ends, as well as slide over to slot corner. Plays fast yet under control, and will often blow plays up before they even get started. Instinctive and very versatile. As much as teams love his football skills, there is no player in this class who was praised more for his leadership than the former Tiger. A locker-room leader, who takes charge of the secondary on the field, with an enthusiasm that carries over to his teammates.

Value: ESPN.com had Adams as their No. 2 overall player, while NFL Draft analyst Luis Reddick, as well as former NFL head coach Jon Gruden both believe Adams was the best football player in this draft class. So, yeah, the Jets got excellent value at No. 6 overall, which has drawn comparisons to their selection of defensive end Leonard Williams in the same slot two years ago and we all know how that has worked out.

Need: Since the draft the Jets have declined to pick up the fifth-year option for former first-round pick Calvin Pryor, which is not only a result of drafting two safeties in the first two rounds, but an indication of their opinion of Pryor. He’s being shown the door and is part not of the future, nor is veteran Marcus Gilchrist who was released earlier today.

Mogollon’s Pick: Several intriguing prospects who can help the Jets at positions of need were on the board, but because of his high floor, Adams would have been my pick as well.  

Who Else Did They Pass Up? With players like Mitchell Trubisky and Cory Davis going in the top five several intriguing players dropped to the Jets at No. 6. Tight end O.J. Howard out of Alabama is an elite talent at New York’s weakest position and Ohio State cornerback Marshon Lattimore has stellar cover skills and is considered the best corner in this class. Another former Buckeye, safety Malik Hooker comes with more risk than Adams, but some would argue has the higher ceiling.

The Fit: Part of what made Adams a slam-dunk selection is the fit. Not only does he fill a need and provide value, the SEC product will fit New York’s defensive scheme like a glove. His ability to play deep zone, in the box, and cover the slot means he’s scheme versatile enough to play in pretty much any defense. More so than most defensive coaches, headman Todd Bowles loves to use his safeties, especially defensive backs who are interchangeable. Adams can play free or strong safety, as well as fill in a hybrid safety-linebacker role. During his time at Arizona Bowles often had three safeties on the field at the same time.

2017 Outlook & Beyond: With his work ethic, passion, football character, and polished skills, Adams is considered to be one of the most NFL-ready prospects in this class. Adams will start from Day 1 and ideally emerge as a leader of not just the secondary but the entire defense. Looking forward, the Jets believe the LSU man will be at the forefront of their rebuilding process on the defensive side of the ball. A building block for the back seven, likely to have multiple Pro Bowl selections in his future.

Daniel Mogollon is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America. He is also a voter for the Thorpe and the Rotary Lombardi Award, as well as the Latino Sports MVP Awards. You can reach him via email: danmogollon@gmail.com.

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