Tony Adams, NY Jets, Safety, Illinois, NFL Draft
Tony Adams, New York Jets, Getty Images

Illinois safety Tony Adams will try to break into an unproven New York Jets safety unit

The New York Jets entered the 2022 NFL draft with some unknowns at the free safety position in both the short and long-term. There seemed to be a chance that Joe Douglas could address the position with a second new starter this offseason alongside strong safety Jordan Whitehead. While the Jets re-signed veteran Lamarcus Joyner, no outside additions were made to the position.

The draft came and went without any selections being allocated toward the safety group. However, the Jets signed a safety following the draft: Tony Adams from Illinois.

Here are some of the most important things for Jets fans to know about Adams.

College production

Adams joins the Jets with quality experience under his belt. He spent all five of his college years at Illinois (2017-21) and played in 41 games.

He recorded 206 total tackles (career-best of 63 in 2021), 11.5 tackles for loss (career-best of four in 2018), three sacks, six interceptions (at least one each year), and 11 passes defended (career-best of five in 2021).

In 12 games played during the 2021 season, Adams had at least five total tackles in seven games. In three of six games Adams played in 2020, he recorded at least 10 total tackles.

Physical measurables and athletic testing

Adams has a solid frame for a safety at 5-foot-11 and 203 pounds with 31″ arms.

He performed exceptionally well athletically as he finished with a 9.76 Relative Athletic Score (RAS). His explosion grades were elite with a 41.5″ vertical jump and a 130″ broad jump.

In terms of speed, Adams had great 10 and 20-yard split times at 1.52 and 2.56, respectively. His 40-yard dash time was stellar (4.47).

When it came to agility, Adams tested very well with a 20-yard shuttle time of 4.06. His 6.98 3-cone time was average and represented the lone athletic drill he did not test strongly in.

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Skill set

On the back end, Adams has the required size, speed, and range to make plays. He is a great athlete with excellent quickness.

Adams has prior experience playing cornerback which shows up with his ability in coverage and ball skills. The versatility he offers to the defensive backfield is a plus. Adams can play physical and is willing to tackle.

Where it seems Adams may have to improve the most going forward is with his change of direction ability, which can show up in coverage. He can also improve at reading routes faster, sharpen his pursuit angles, and add strength to become a more consistent tackler.

Final takeaways

Following his five collegiate years, Adams starts with the Jets as a 23-year-old rookie.

Jordan Whitehead is the only known commodity for the Jets at safety right now. He will start at strong safety.

From there, the chances seem strong at the moment that Lamarcus Joyner will start at free safety. There is, however, a plethora of depth between Ashtyn Davis, Jason Pinnock, Will Parks, and Elijah Riley, which could make things interesting.

The presence of those players will make it a tough competition for the two or three available backup roles.

For Adams, his versatility will improve his chances of making the final roster. He has the size, speed, and athletic ability to stick around and grow. Showing his range, ball skills, and ability in coverage early on will be key, as will showing the ability to contribute on special teams.

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Ryan Moran is a writer for Jets X-Factor providing in-depth analysis on all things related to the team. Email: ryan.moran310[at]gmail.com
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Azuma76
Azuma76
6 months ago

Screw him! If Bates shakes free Jets need to jump all over him. Our depth at safety is god awful! Bates is showing signs of possibly a rebellion against the Bengals right now and his caliber is what we need to help that safety room!

hh11212
hh11212
6 months ago

Good to get some knowledge on the UDFA’s. Seems Jets were very strategtic this year and only brought in a few UDFA’s they thought may have chance. The likely reason being we have brought in a ton of draft picks and UDFA’s over the last two seasons.

hh11212
hh11212
6 months ago
Reply to  Ryan Moran

I think the depth on the team is underrated by the National media and pundits. With us having so many Blue chip vets and propsects (Lawson Becton,Tomlinson, Sauce, JJ, Breece and Wilson) who either missed full season or are joining the team this year along with above average guys such as Uzomah, Conklin, Whitehead, Joyner (injury) and Moore and Davis returning from injury for a good part of the 2nd half of the season.

I think the national media will be surprised at how much talent we really have on our roster. I see 8-10 wins if Zach plays how he did after injury. If he continues the progress from the 2nd part of the season 11 wins is not out of the realm of possibility. Because then 1 of the Buffalo games, either of the Ravens, or Bengals games at home become much more realistic. What do you think?

Jimjets
Jimjets
6 months ago
Reply to  hh11212

I do see a path to 10-7. 3-3 afc East. 2-2 afc north. 3-1 nfc north. 2-1 three random games. But man if they go 11-6? I’ll take that !

hh11212
hh11212
6 months ago
Reply to  Jimjets

I definietly see the path to double digits wins. I think people are a afraid to believe what their own eyes tell them. They are afraid to look at our polayers and simply judge them vs the rest of the league and see we have some good players, period. And good players win games!!

Jimjets
Jimjets
6 months ago
Reply to  hh11212

Agreed – with the improved O line and TE’s and Hall and Carter we run the ball better, and we were good last year. With Sauce, Reed and Whitehead we get interceptions and do petter on perimeter runs. With Lawson, Johnson, Clemons et al we get more sacks. With a better run game things should open up for the receivers. Big runs, sacks, interceptions and explosive pass plays equal wins IMO

hh11212
hh11212
6 months ago
Reply to  Jimjets

Great points and I see the same. Objectively we have a top 12, O-Line, CB, D-Line, TE and RB’s. With the potential, if Zach takes a step and Davis and Mims bounce back to have a top 12 QB and WR group as well. We would only be below average at Safety and LB two of the three least important groups on the team.

Poeple are scared to admit what they see because we have been bad for a while. But once they see us on the filed I think people will start to realize we are pretty good and yes it is ok to have high expectations!

Jimjets
Jimjets
6 months ago
Reply to  hh11212

totally

Azuma76
Azuma76
6 months ago
Reply to  hh11212

Expect Wilson to make a second year leap like he did college. More TD less interceptions. He had the same coordinator and learned the system very quickly

Azuma76
Azuma76
6 months ago
Reply to  hh11212

If Zach Wilson takes his 2nd year leap like he did in college, we should be 11-6

Azuma76
Azuma76
6 months ago
Reply to  Jimjets

I see 3-1 in the afc north, only loss maybe Baltimore

Jimjets
Jimjets
6 months ago
Reply to  Azuma76

Ok! Love it.