In the run-up to the 2017 NFL draft, there was one prospect who I couldn’t watch enough of. It may have been the big hits, the excellent positioning or the exemplary leadership, but everything about this player led me to believe that he’d made an immediate impact, and go on to have a remarkable NFL career. That player was of course Jamal Adams and it just so happened that the Jets jumped all over him when he unexpectedly fell into their laps.
I’ve been watching all season and he’s done nothing to make me believe that my pre-draft thoughts should be either tempered or changed. He passes the eye-test on a weekly basis, he’s always around the football, he rarely makes mistakes and his communication is obvious for all to see. Eye’s can be misleading, we all know that. So I reached out to Pro Football Focus to get their evaluation of Jamal and here’s what I found out.
In his rookie year, Jamal Adams has recorded a 78.2 grade, ranking him 36th of 84 qualified safeties. His 84.5 grade in run defense ranks 9th out of 81 qualified safeties and his 79.0 grade in coverage ranks him 35th of 86 qualified safeties. In the past two weeks, he’s ranked 9th among 72 qualified safeties in overall grade. Needless to say, that’s pretty impressive for a rookie, hell that’s pretty impressive for a safety full-stop.
It doesn’t just stop there however. Through 10 games this season, he has generated 13 run stops on defense. That may not sound like a massive amount, however no rookie safety has ever had that many run stops through their first 10 games in over a decade. He’s also generated 5 total pressures, which again doesn’t sound like a lot… but that’s actually tied for the 4th most among qualified safeties.
I think we all appreciated that Jamal Adams is a great player, however this just puts it into context a little bit.
Not only is he performing on the field, he’s also proving extremely popular off the field. In the Dicks Sporting Goods jersey report, he has the 8th best selling jersey among defensive players in the NFL. He has the 45th best selling jersey overall and the 6th best selling rookie jersey.
The Jets are building something special on defence and Jamal Adams is the keystone that will hold it all together.
Here’s a look at the first-half impact of the Jets’ draft class:
Jamal Adams, S, first round: A starter from day one, Adams hasn’t disappointed. He’s a complete safety, but he’s better in the box, where he can blitz and make plays against the run. The former LSU star has two sacks and two fumble recoveries. He’s tough, smart and fearless. Aside from a few hiccups in pass coverage (three touchdowns), Adams has lived up to expectations. By next year, he’ll be the leader on defense. Grade: Near perfection.
Marcus Maye, S, second round: Maye is on his way to breaking the franchise’s long history of second-round busts. He’s the ideal complement to Adams because he’s at his best in the deep post. Another starter from day one, Maye (two interceptions) takes proper angles and rarely gets caught out of position. The coaches love his awareness. He’s also not afraid to go downhill and deliver the wood to a runner on the second level. Grade: Near perfection.
ArDarius Stewart, WR, third round: The Jets play mainly three receivers, and Stewart (four catches) hasn’t been able to crack the top three. The physical talent is there, especially when he has the ball in his hands, but he must improve his blocking and his overall awareness. He’s the primary kickoff returner, but has yet to make a big play. For the second-guessers: The Jets picked Stewart over running back Kareem Hunt, who went seven picks later to the Kansas City Chiefs. Grade: Below average.
Chad Hansen, WR, fourth round: This has been a frustrating year for Hansen, who needed some time to overcome an offseason knee injury. He’s a man without a role and that won’t change — now or in the future — unless he elevates his game. He has no targets in 75 offensive snaps. Grade: Below average.
Jordan Leggett, TE, fifth round: He suffered a knee injury in the preseason and never got right, finally landing on injured reserve last week. He never got on the field. Leggett was inconsistent in training camp and has a long way to go before he can be a regular contributor. Grade: Incomplete.
Dylan Donahue, OLB, fifth round: He played only four games before landing on IR because of an elbow injury, but the Jets like his upside. He managed to record four quarterback hits in a limited role as a pass-rusher, displaying a relentless motor. He was the same on special teams. In fact, he was injured while blowing up a defender on a punt return. Grade: Average.
Elijah McGuire, RB, sixth round: He has had one sensational moment — a 69-yard run in which he displayed better-than-advertised speed. For the most part, he has worked as the No. 3 back, picking up scraps here and there. McGuire is a versatile player who deserves a bigger role as the twilight of the season approaches. They need to find out about him for the future. Grade: Average.
Jeremy Clark, CB, sixth round: Basically, this is a medical redshirt year. After a major knee injury last fall, Clark was drafted with the idea that he’d spend the season on the non-football injury list. Grade: Incomplete.
Derrick Jones, CB, sixth round: He, too, is redshirting, but it has nothing to do with an injury. Jones had limited experience as a corner in college, so he’s extremely raw and will need time to develop. He was drafted because of his size (6-foot-2) and athletic traits. Grade: Incomplete.