The 2016 Cleveland Browns had an awful defense. And while players like Danny Shelton and Jamie Collins begin to rebuild the front seven, Cleveland’s secondary is far from the “Dawg Pound” days of old. For a while now, the Browns have had a great starting piece in veteran Joe Haden. However, the injury bug may have bitten him one too many times. If the Browns could give Haden a proper cornerback partner, he wouldn’t have to overexert himself.
So in a sense, cornerback is at least partially covered (no pun intended). Safety, however, is a different story. Promising young player Tashaun Gipson left Cleveland after last season, leaving Cleveland with a massive hole at safety, which is currently being “filled” by Jordan Poyer and Derrick Kindred. The Browns must address this hole in the 2017 NFL Draft. So who’s the answer? Enter LSU’s hard-hitting safety Jamal Adams.
Why The Cleveland Browns Should Draft Jamal Adams
Many fans and scouts alike believe that a factory built Jamal Adams specifically to play safety, and upon watching the tape, it’s easy to see why. Adams is an ideal strong safety prototype, with an incredible mix of size, speed, and strength. At 6’1, 213, he has the size to punish whoever has the ball. With top-notch strength, he can destroy smaller receivers or ball carriers. Intimidation is an amazing equalizer on defense, and Jamal Adams can create plenty of that.
However, Adams also has a unique ability for someone his size: he can flat-out fly across the field. Additionally, he can make tackles anywhere due to his speed, and can catch up to players that prove too fast for other defenders. And having that special combination of size and speed allows him to hit offensive players like a sledgehammer. Adams can force a turnover with both his crunching hits and blazing speed. Clearly, he has the ability to change the game in an instant, and the physical end is only the start of that.
In addition to being a physical freak, Adams has essential football smarts, knowing where to be on the field, and when and how to get there. Furthermore, he knows all the fundamentals and nuances of the game, and how to play in general, as his tackling mechanics are completely sound, and he knows when to play aggressively or hang back and wait on the play. Adams can blitz the line of scrimmage to force a fumble or play coverage to pile on the interceptions.
Adams is wildly opportunistic, and he’ll jump on any 50/50 ball in his area. To go with his tremendous football IQ, he’s unsurprisingly gritty. While he can make some of the flashiest plays on the field, he’s also able to make a stand and grind it out. Adams has the stamina and mental toughness to get through a long, tedious drive. Whether grinding it out or making the crowd go wild, he is a terrific defensive player who just gets it done.
In addition, Adams’ character is fantastic and his locker room presence is second to none. Off the field, he could be the guy that creates a real culture shift for the Browns. The term “culture” has been a buzzword in Cleveland ever since coach Hue Jackson took over before the 2016 season. The Browns haven’t made the playoffs since 2002. Cleveland’s locker room will require a shift in its culture in order to succeed. The game of football is incredibly psychological, and Adams’ attitude could be just what the Browns need.
Conclusion and Pro Comparison
Jamal Adams is a defensive star in the making, who knows what to do and how to do it, and has a physical skill set that is absolutely second to none. Clearly, he can be a defensive player at the next level that can change a game instantaneously. As a pro, he can be a lot like Kansas City’s Eric Berry; a safety that possesses the skills to do his job in every single way.
When Berry came into the league in 2010, he made an immediate impact in the Chiefs’ secondary. Adams could work just the same way, especially under new coordinator Gregg Williams. If Williams gets significant time to work with Adams, he could make him into an absolute superstar. Jamal Adams can be a dynamic playmaker and a defensive force at the next level, and Cleveland’s rebuild desperately needs that kind of star power.