Best of the 2017 New York Jets No. 5: Safety Jamal Adams

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Let’s be brutally honest: There isn’t much to get excited about when it comes to the New York Jets. But one player whom fans should be ecstatic to see on the field is rookie safety Jamal Adams.

Adams checks in at no. 5 on our Best of the Jets top-20 countdown, which is lofty territory for a rookie who hasn’t taken a single NFL snap. That’s an indication of how good we believe Adams could be in his first professional season.

Adams fell into New York’s laps at the sixth pick in the draft, and the LSU product will be brought in as a building block for New York’s rebuilding roster. Along with second-round selection Marcus Maye, the Jets are hopeful they found a versatile duo to patrol the back end of their defense for years to come.

Maye checked in at No. 13 on our Best of the Jets list. Here’s why we have even more hope in Adams:

What he did in 2016:

Adams was named Second Team All-SEC during his final season for the Tigers. He posted 76 total tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, one sack and one interception during his junior campaign. He established himself as one of the best defensive backs in college football and was deemed by many as the safest prospect in the entire 2017 draft.

Why he’s on the list this year:

It’s not a question as to whether Adams deserves to be on this list. He certainly does, especially after New York’s front office gutted the roster this offseason. Adams has incredible physical traits and pairs that with outstanding instincts as an attacking safety. He was one of the most vocal leaders on an LSU team loaded with NFL talent and has already taken a leadership role as a rookie with the Jets.

Adams is a playmaker who can think quickly and react even faster. However, there are concerns regarding Adams’ ability in coverage. He had five interceptions over his final two seasons at LSU, but his anticipation and range in coverage are questionable traits.

Adams is already arguably the third-most talented player on New York’s defense behind Leonard Williams and Muhammad Wilkerson.

What to expect in 2017:

How the Jets will utilize their new duo of Adams and Maye at safety is one of the more intriguing questions Todd Bowles will have to answer this season. Bowles, a former safety, appreciates versatility and loves having interchangeable pieces on the field. The departures of Calvin Pryor and Marcus Gilchrist almost ensure starting roles for both Adams and Maye, but it’s uncertain if they will have true labels.

Expect Adams to wear a variety of hats as a rookie because New York’s coaching staff will immediately trust him to handle the workload. Maye will likely serve as the strong safety in 2017 because he has more limitations in coverage. Adams will roam around as the free safety and will make plays all over the field.

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