This is our Joe Adams scouting report. For all of our other scouting reports go to our scouting report page.
5’11 179 pounds 31 7/8 inch arms, 9 3/8 inch hands
4.55 forty second dash, 36 inch vertical jump, 123 inch broad jump, 7.09 second 3 cone drill
+ Speed- sub 4.4 in the 40, real fast on film
+ Hands- never seen him drop a pass, rarely traps passes against his frame
+ Change of direction skills- helps him escape defenders in the open field, could make him a great route runner
+ Big play threat with the ball in his hands- natural at evading defenders in the open field
+ Good Punt Returner- 4th ranked punt returner in the BCS in terms of yards per return
- Height (or lack thereof)
- Not an intense run blocker
- Raw (cornerback out of high school)
- Route running
- Needs some bulk
Arkansas senior wide receiver Joe Adams is one of my favorite sleepers for the 2012 draft class. The guy is loaded with talent and potential.
Adams has solid physical tools. Though he lacks size (5’11 180lbs), he makes up for it with great speed and change of direction skills. His straight line speed is phenomenal and his change of direction skills make him a very fluid athlete that can do a lot of things to create separation.
Adams has good numbers. Despite the fact that playing time was hard to find in Arkansas’ crowded wide receiver depth chart, he still amassed 813 yards on 50 catches, with an excellent 16.3 yards per catch. Something that I love on his film is the fact that, when targeted, Adams finds a way to get the football. Though he doesn’t receive many targets because of all the receivers Arkansas has, when he is targeted, he makes the catch. As in, Ryan Mallett maintains a great completion percentage when throwing to Adams. What’s also impressive is the fact that he put up those stats in an offense that isn’t really well suited to his skill set. Bobby Petrino’s spread involves a lot of receivers running deep routes and catching the ball down field. Adams is better suited to work in a west coast offense, catching passes on very short to intermediate routes, and creating yards after the catch.
Adams has good hands. He never traps passes against his frame, he doesn’t drop passes, and he does an excellent job of adjusting to the poorly thrown football. However, he lacks body control in the air and shouldn’t be targeted on the deep pass.
Adams seems to have good intangibles. I’m not aware of any arrests or character issues on his record, and he plays the game with great on field intensity. Although he could improve his effort as a run blocker, he shows outstanding toughness and power with the ball in his hands. He also has good strength and is tough enough to beat the press.
Adams’ best asset must be his yards after the catch ability. Not only is he a great punt returner, but I haven’t seen a receiver accumulate YAC (yards after the catch) at such an alarming rate since, well, my comparison for him, Greg Jennings. Arkansas has a countless number of screen passes designed to get the ball in Adams’ hands and let him do all the work. His yards per catch (16.3) is one of the best in the FBS, but, if you watch his film, you’d realize that he never catches the ball downfield and that his yards per catch is simply a result of his ability to make defenders miss in the open field. Adams has ideal vision, accelerates quickly, and possesses natural change of direction skills, helping him have suddenness in his escape moves. He also has tremendous power for his size, allowing him to take defenders head on and escape the tackle.
Adams is a mediocre route runner. He played corner in high school, so he is a very raw route runner, and he runs his routes with sloppy footwork much of the time, but I believe he does have route running potential. I wrote the same thing about A.J. Green before his junior season began. As mentioned in the previous paragraph, Adams has natural change of direction skills and accelerates quickly. His ability to accelerate quickly has already given him an effective release off the line of scrimmage, but he is yet to incorporate his outstanding change of direction skills into the cuts in his routes. Adams needs to realize that he can use the some of the same footwork needed to create separation from a defender that’s trying to tackle him when trying to create separation from a defender trying to cover him. Adams tends to almost chop his feet when making a break on a shorter route, and even on film people look at his helmet and can get an idea of where his break is going to be. However, Adams is very fluid when changing directions trying avoid a tackle. It can be incorporated into his route running. It’s just something he has to work on. Right now, Adams is an average route runner, but a lot of potential is there.
Overall, Adams is a great prospect loaded with lots of potential. It’s tough for him to find passes in what I think is the best wide receiving core in the nation (of course Greg Childs, but also Jarius Wright, and the underrated Cobi Hamilton, who put up great numbers while Childs was injured), but he makes the best of it, and can get a lot of yards. Also, in general, I like a receiver that can get a lot of yards after the catch. A receiver that can make defenders miss allows short, high percentage passes to be long gains. Which I love. Because any ball targeted toward that kind of player is likely to go for more yards than a pass thrown to any other player. A pass to a deep receiver will result in lots of yards if caught, but it has a smaller change of being caught. A pass to a receiver near the quarterback is likely to be caught but for a small gain. Adams is that rare kind of player that can get the best of both; passes thrown to him are usually caught and they go for long gains. Now, getting open is another variable worth considering, and it’s what kept Adams from being a 1,200 yard receiver (again, because of mediocre route running), but every pass thrown toward him went for a lot of yards. Quarterbacks have a good quarterback rating when throwing to Adams, even if it is with a smaller number of pass attempts. And that’s pretty valuable.
NFL Comparison: Greg Jennings. Absolute clone. Similar size and speed, both of them were great punt returners in college (Adams is more likely to continue doing so in the NFL), and then there is one striking similarity; both of them have a really high yards per catch, but not because of catching the ball downfield, but because of YAC. Greg Jennings was 3rd in the NFL in yards after the catch. If I could find that stat for NCAA players, I’m sure Adams would be first.
Grade: 87 (worthy of an early second round pick)
Projection: 71 (will be a late third, maybe early 4th round pick)