Since 2009, the Chicago Bears have gone through 25 different starting safety combinations. And to add to this inconsistent position, the Bears are toward the bottom in the league in takeaways over the past two seasons. It’s a problem that will be addressed through free agency as Ryan Pace talked about in his end of year press conference and should be addressed at the NFL draft.
The Bears hold the third overall pick in the 2017 NFL draft, a place where you do not pick often. So far, there is no clear-cut QB that is going to go high in the draft. Some say Mitch Trubisky is the most “pro ready. Others say Deshaun Watson is the number one QB and will turn into a star in the NFL. But nothing is certain and that is what makes the draft so difficult.
The Bears have a lot of needs to address, and the safety position being one of them. I have said it before and I will say it again, if Ryan Pace does not take his QB at No.3, the Bears have to draft a secondary player. And who might that be? One option is S Jamal Adams from LSU.
Jamal Adams is 6’ 1” 213lbs and proved to be one of the most explosives players at his position at LSU over the past couple seasons. Adams, First team All-SEC in 2016 by AP, posted 209 tackles, 17.5 tackles for loss, and five career interceptions over his three years at LSU. People close to the LSU program are calling Adams “Honey Badger 2.0”(Tyrann Mathieu). And the more I watch Adams, the more I agree on this statement. He is aggressive and very instinctive, someone who could be worth a third overall pick in the NFL draft.
Adams has great size at his position. He is everything you want in a safety, a position that NFL teams value more than ever. You look at guys like Earl Thomas in Seattle and Eric Berry in Kansas City. These guys are leaders of their defense and playmakers. Adams has the playmaking ability through his awareness and physicality. He is exceptional in open field tackling, something the Bears safeties were not good at this season. Putting a guy like Adams right into your lineup brings physicality and someone to build around at the position.
It has been a long time since the Bears had a dominate player at the safety position. Heck, the Bears have not had a playmaker in the secondary since Charles Tillman. But if you really zero in on one player that was the last consistent safety for the Bears, I’d probably say Major Wright but that’s not saying a whole lot. The safety position has been a growing weakness the past couple years in Chicago. Adrian Amos has played two seasons in the NFL and is still looking for his first interception of his career. Harold Jones Quartey has somewhat better ball skills but looked very lost in coverage this season leading him to eventually being benched in favor of rookie Deon Bush. The Bears just do not need to address the safety position in free agency but they also need to draft one.
Now, some are probably asking why not Malik Hooker? He’s got great speed and range and generates a lot of takeaways, something the Bears seem have forgotten how to do. Hooker is a great athlete and great at his position but he lacks open field tackling and the aggressiveness that Adam’s possess. The Bears need to build their secondary around physicality. When you look at teams like the Seahawks, Broncos and the Cardinals. They do not just have guys who create turnovers but their secondary is physical. And, they draft/sign players with natural ball skills. Adams has that. Adams is a special breed and guys like him do not come around often.
When you watch tape on the LSU product, his physicality is off the charts. He is quick to the ball and comes downhill with purpose. Again, this is a guy who had 17.5 tackles for loss in his college career. When put at the line of scrimmage coming off the edge, it’s about impossible to stop him from making a play. In pass coverage, he has good range and get the ball at its highest point like all safeties are taught to do. But what the best about Adams is his playmaking ability. A big sack on third down or a interception on a deep ball, he has the ability to change the direction of games. From day one, this is a guy who can change the culture of not only the position on the team but the culture of the defense.
Jamal Adams Highlights: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ktuijMDwsh8 Credit goes to @Footballman175
Jamal Adams is a complete safety. He can do it all. And the Bears have been without that kind of player since the departure of Charles Tillman. The Bears will sign someone in free agency at the safety position no question, but they need to draft someone to play next to that veteran. The Bears need to draft Jamal Adams at third overall not only because it is a team need, but because the Bears need a playmaker for the future.