Problem Solved. With the sixth pick in the NFL draft, the New York Jets selected safety Jamal Adams. Marcus Maye followed at pick 39. Looking back, draft experts and NFL fans alike slammed the Jets for their decision to pick back to back safeties with their first two picks. The play of these two youngsters has made Jets General Manager Mike Maccagnan look like one of the smarter men in the room, and just like that the team’s safety issues were solved.
Strong and Free
Truth be told, the traditional strong and free safety alignment is becoming a dinosaur. With an increased emphasis on the vertical passing game and the abundance of athletic tight ends, safeties have become jack of all trades. A recent influx of hybrid middle linebackers such as Arizona’s Deone Bucannon, Carolina’s Shaw Thompson and the Jets’ own Darron Lee has also allowed safeties more freedom within the defensive game plan. The Jets have been moving Adams and Maye all over the field, both being used as interchangeable pieces, something management has stressed from the early days of training camp.
Getting to Know You
What do the Jets have in Maye and Adams? Let’s look deeper into the play of the young duo.
Marcus is a sideline to sideline safety. He is instinctual and physical enough (6’ 207lbs) to break up plays in the flats or close down on screens. It’s easy to love this player in the single high look. He tracks the ball well and with two strong corners, could end up being a great back end ball hawk.
Schematically he fits incredibly well with Jamal Adams, and the current defensive structure. Having Maye roam the back half has freed up Adams to pinch down in the box, while also playing matchup zone or man coverage on hybrid tight ends.
— Jared Coalmon (@jared_coalmon93) November 26, 2017
The #Bucs went hurry up and the #Jets were not ready leading to this big play. I was really impressed by Marcus Maye, though. Diagnoses quickly, closes ground in a hurry, maintains balance in the open field, violently drives the receiver to the ground. pic.twitter.com/ZIcqy4FkGT
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— Kyle Smith (@AFCEastBros) November 20, 2017
It’s been an up and down coverage year for Adams. He allowed Gronkowski to score twice in the New England game and statistically he has been accountable for five touchdowns to date. He will improve with seasoning and an understanding of body positioning. But let’s get to the real news on Jamal Adams: In a word- Excitement.
Jamal has a motor, and watching him you can feel his passion for playing the game, he truly loves it. Maye on the other hand has been Adams’ steadying influence. As the Jets play out the season and begin to look at the draft and free agency, help at the corner positions can raise these two to elite status.
Jamal Adams fills in nicely and makes the 1v1 tackle vs Martin. OC makes a bad decision to try to block Lee instead of getting a body on Adams. pic.twitter.com/CzowSNV7Rt
— Joe Blewett (@Joerb31) November 14, 2017
Jamal Adams flashing some athleticism coming from the backside to make the tackle on Newton on this power read play pic.twitter.com/FNxleG4MSY
— Joe Blewett (@Joerb31) November 29, 2017
Rest easy Jets fans, the future is very bright indeed. Having two players of this caliber and age is a very rare combination. When you add in the growth and potential of Darron Lee, the groundwork for the road to success is being paved. Where will it all lead? Time will tell, but as the great Bart Scott once said, “Can’t wait!” And that phrase remains relevant today.