Just like AC/DC’s 1980’s hit “Who made Who?” most dynasty owners want to know: was it the quarterbacking of Derek Carr or the receiving of Davante Adams (both of Fresno State) that made the other player better or were they equally as good. I’m here to tell you that at least 75% of the credit should go to the young wide out. The following article breaks down why I feel that Adams may be one of the most underrated receivers in the NFL and potentially in your rookie drafts.
The first thing that jumps off the screen is that Adams will remind you of 49ers receiver Anquan Boldin. Adams is 6′ 1″ and 212 lbs while Boldin is also 6′ 1″ at a slightly larger frame of 220 lbs. While both the former Bulldog and Boldin are very physical football players who are willing to do whatever it takes to win, that is where the comparison ends. The young receiver tends to lineup outside, spends a little time lined up in the slot, and is occasionally sent in motion to create mismatches in the secondary. Adams steps up and attacks his defender in the run game as a blocker usually doing a good job of sealing them off from the play. The receiver is also a willing blocker downfield once the ball gets caught by a teammate. It’s the completeness of his game that will get him a lot of extra playing time as a rookie which will give his dynasty owners more scoring opportunities as he should never leave the gridiron.
Adams gets a good jump off the line of scrimmage with his powerful hands and strong upper body keeping defenders away from his body. The receiver has great acceleration getting to full speed in about two steps. He uses his quick feet and loose hips to change directions quickly. If a defender gets too caught up with what Adams is doing with his upper body, they will be lost as the wide out loves to set up defensive backs with juke moves and shoulder shakes to create separation through deception. The receiver will use any variation of a stiff-arm, spin move, swim move, and/or power to get past any defenders in his way.
I watched three of his games against San José State, USC, and Nevada. In every game, the wide out would swat defenders out of his way causing them to lose balance. There are not many receivers that love contact and running through traffic, but Adams is one of them. Even though he only ran a 4.56 40 at the Combine, I believe that he still has the speed to run go routes. If he needs to, the receiver will outmaneuver most defensive backs. Adams might begin his career as a WR2 on a receiver needy team, but I believe that he could eventually become an NFL and dynasty WR1 in a few years. Yes he is that talented.
The rookie receiver can run a complete route tree as he excels at short screens along with the intermediate routes, and deep routes. Adams is very effective with bubble screens as he makes the first defender miss and sometimes turns the screen into a ten yard plus play. It’s his superior vision that he uses to find creases and read his blockers hips to get him to the open field where he is especially dangerous. His route running is crisp and he does a good job shielding the ball from the defender, making sure he has positioning to make the catch. Crossing routes are a staple for him as he loves to catch the ball in traffic. Adams has some of the best hands in his class as he will use any part of his body to secure the ball whether its one hand, two hands, off his body, or helmet, it doesn’t matter. That takes an amazing amount of concentration to do.
I’m not saying that the wide out isn’t a risk-taker as he likes to sometimes turn back three yards only to find a crease and create a 15 yard gain. Sometimes Adams just loses those yards, but it’s the intensity and effort that is always there that makes him a special player. He generates most of his power and balance in his hips, so don’t try to tackle him too high or too low, otherwise he will burst right past. The receiver takes a lot of hard shots and spins away, not taking the full brunt of the hit. If his team needs three yards, he will usually get you four.
When you send Adams out for long passes, watch out! The wide out tracks the ball well deep, catches it at its highest point, and is willing to fully extend to make the reception sometimes several feet above. He does a great job attacking the ball in the air and is physical enough to knock defenders away from the ball mid-air. It’s his nose for the end zone that makes him a huge scoring threat that you need on your dynasty team.
The receiver does the little things that separate great receivers from good ones. He uses the sidelines as an extra blocker then tip-toes to make the difficult catch . Most of the time on deeper routes, Adams will simply wait until the last possible second to look for the ball catching the defender by surprise. It’s very difficult to defend someone who isn’t looking for the ball who can also stop and go as quickly as Adams does. His speed or lack there of will concern plenty of potential dynasty owners, just don’t let that be you.
Adams doesn’t have the popular exciting name that the Mike Evans, Sammy Watkins, or Marqise Lee does. Heck he isn’t the huge monster (6′ 5″ 240 lbs.) that Kelvin Benjamin is either. The receiver made a good, but not great quarterback prospect seem like he was NFL first round material. That makes me wonder what he could do on an offense that features other play makers than himself. Adams is someone who should be available in most rookie drafts towards the end of the first round or beginning of the second. He represents good value for owners that were successful last year in their dynasty leagues.
For further questions or comments, please contact me on twitter @AndrewMiley