LSU safety Jamal Adams understands the evolving nature of his position and hopes to bring leadership to the NFL team that drafts him, even as a rookie.
Jamal Adams is another highly touted defensive back to come out of LSU in recent years. Tryann Mathieu, Patrick Peterson and Morris Claiborne are just a few former successful Tigers Adams hopes to fall in line with at the NFL level.
He is also entering the league where the safety position has been evolving over the past few years with the influx of so many hybrid-type players and Adams, at six-foot, 214 pounds, could be another. His numbers from the NFL Combine showed his potential – a 4.56 40-yard dash, a 31.5 inch vertical jump and a 10-foot broad jump.
His lack of ballhawking credentials, at least on paper – he only one interception in 2016 -- could point in the direction of a possible move to linebacker and Adams would be up to the challenge even though he doesn't prefer it.
"I could, but I definitely would not prefer," Adams said. "I went to college and I definitely did not sign up to take on lineman. I've seen a big lineman at EXOS in Arizona, probably about 6-8, 340. That's not calculating with me."
Adams doesn't like comparisons to other players, but like many other young defensive backs in the NFL, he likes to "steal some pieces" from former NFL safeties including Redskins legend Sean Taylor and Bob Sanders. But with only two safeties projecting to go in the top 10, it is inevitable that he would be getting compared to the other standout: Malik Hooker from Ohio State.
And flattering as it can be to get compared to another talented player; Adam views himself as his own player with a specific style.
"My game, I can speak for me," Adams said. "I can play everything in the back end. Coming down in the slot, come down on the tight end and cover. I can fill that A and B gap. Be in the box. I can also play man-free. I feel I can play everything in the back end. I get classified as a box safety which is not something that I like, but I understand, because I like being around the ball. I like making plays on the ball. I like making impact plays for the team."
Adams road to the NFL started at an early age when his father, George Adams, was drafted 19th overall by the New York Giants in 1985, and he began training at the age of three.
"It started at an early age," he said. "A lot of people, due to his pedigree, think that football was kind of pushed my way… He just really stressed staying focused, trusting the process, and doing what I do. I love football. That's my passion."
The Lewisville, Texas, native's gained knowledge and early training paid off in his time at college and became the leader for not only the defense but the entire team during a tough 2016 season for the LSU football program down in Baton Rouge.
Adams found ways to keep his team together while facing adversity after a sudden coaching change. According to Adams, leadership is his main attribute and knows his sheriff like mentality can transition to the next level.
"Speak up in meetings. Holding players-only meetings and just telling the truth," Adams said. "Because if they see a veteran staying positive, still fighting, the young guys will follow along and do the right thing."