Jets' Jamal Adams the 2nd Best Defensive Player in NFL, NFC Executive Says

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJuly 17, 2020

New York Jets' Jamal Adams (33) during the second half of an NFL football game against the Oakland Raiders Sunday, Nov. 24, 2019, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Seth Wenig/Associated Press

New York Jets safety Jamal Adams was voted the best player at his position in the NFL by more than 50 league executives, coaches, scouts and players polled by ESPN's Jeremy Fowler.

One NFC executive showered Adams with praise, saying, "He's the second-best defensive player in football," with only Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald ahead of him.

Adams finished first in the voting, but he was followed closely by Minnesota Vikings safety Harrison Smith in second, Minkah Fitzpatrick of the Pittsburgh Steelers in third and Derwin James of the Los Angeles Chargers in fourth.

The 24-year-old Adams is set to enter his fourth NFL season in 2020. He was originally selected by the Jets with the sixth overall pick in the 2017 NFL draft, and he has been named a Pro Bowler in each of the past two seasons.

Adams was selected to the All-Pro First Team for the first time last season as well and finished the year with 75 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, seven passes defended and one interception. Adams also returned an interception for a touchdown and returned a fumble for a score.

Per Fowler, Adams has more sacks in his first three seasons (12) than any defensive back in the NFL since sacks were first recorded in 1982. He also had 17 quarterback pressures last season, which was 10 more than any other defensive back in the league.

One NFL coordinator suggested that Adams' style of play could make him less effective in certain systems: "He can cover but wants to make the big hit all the time. The scheme would matter for him."

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Meanwhile, an NFC executive expressed their belief that Adams can do it all from the safety position: "Superb athlete, tough, intelligent. He's so competitive and physical, and it's not like with some other players with similar styles where you wouldn't play them from depth. You can play Jamal from depth."

Despite the fact that Adams is arguably the best safety in the NFL, he has been the subject of trade rumors since last season.

The Jets have Adams signed through at least the 2021 season since they exercised the fifth-year option in his contract, but there has been no real movement between the two sides in terms of agreeing to a contract extension.

Because of that, Adams reportedly requested a trade last month.

Given Adams' age, production and ability to do a little bit of everything from the safety spot, he will undoubtedly be a highly sought-after commodity should the Jets make him available on the trade market in the near future.