Say what you want about Pro Football Focus’s rankings, they are no longer an anomaly when it comes to Bears safety Adrian Amos. There is now another publication rating Amos as one of the best safeties in the league. As a part of their NFL1000 series, Bleacher Report has ranked the former Nittany Lion as the best free safety in football last season.
Amos scored an 81/100 on their rankings, which puts stock into coverage, recovery, slot performance, and tackling. The closest player to Amos was New England’s Devin McCourty, who finished one point lower than Amos.
“The Bears have one of the NFL’s better up-and-coming safety duos, and Adrian Amos has a lot to do with that. ‘Smash’ rightfully earned his nickname. Amos had a phenomenal 2017. He was outstanding against the run and a sure tackler. In coverage, he showed the kind of awareness that can make him a league-wide star. The only complaint one might have was his lack of plays on the ball. That should come in time.” – Kyle Posey, NFL1000 DB Scout
Pro Football Focus (PFF) made headlines earlier this year by listing Amos as a first-team All-pro, beating out such names as McCourty and Detroit’s Glover Quin. While much skepticism about PFF’s rankings has made it’s way to the mainstream as of late, in this instance, they seem to know what they are talking about.
“Chicago’s Adrian Amos is seen by many as just another guy, but his ability to simply make the plays you expect a safety to make is not to be underestimated. Safeties by their nature are almost contingency players, coming downhill to add to run fits and adding coverage help on the back end to shore up the cornerbacks. Amos notched 26 defensive stops, just two fewer than Smith managed on almost 300 fewer snaps. He may not make as many splash plays as other players at the position, but he makes all the expected plays without making mistakes.” – Sam Monson, PFF
The high praise for Amos comes as a surprise to many, as Amos is undoubtedly not the most flashy name in the Bears secondary. As good as rookie Eddie Jackson was this season, it was Amos who filled the gap left behind by Quintin Demps’s week three injury. The former fifth-round pick was given another opportunity to prove himself in the league, and he did exactly that. It was Amos who took charge in locking down the secondary, leading the Bears to one of league’s best defenses in 2017.
In Vic Fangio’s defensive scheme, the “free” and “strong” safety designations, though still given to players, mean less than in other schemes. It’s a bit unfair for Bleacher Report to be giving those designations separately, but Amos shouldn’t have been affected either way. PFF grades with safety as one position, and Amos was graded as the league’s second-best, trailing only Minnesota’s Harrison Smith.
With rampant speculation about the possibility of a Minkah Fitzpatrick draft selection, it seems obvious that this core will stay in place, at least throughout the 2018 season.