Packers hope to strike second-round WR gold again with Adams
MAY 14, 2014 4:25p ET
The list of wide receivers selected in the second round by the Green Bay Packers is arguably the most impressive aspect of Ted Thompson's 10 drafts as general manager. But when Adams' name was called with the No. 53 overall pick, Thompson didn't want to think about similar past successes.
"Don't jinx us," Thompson said.
Superstition aside, it's impossible to ignore the Packers' recent history with finding great wide receivers in the second round. Jennings, the 52nd overall pick in 2006, had more than 6,500 receiving yards and 53 touchdowns in seven seasons in Green Bay. Nelson, selected at No. 36 in 2008, has nearly 4,600 receiving yards and 36 touchdowns in his first six seasons with the Packers. Cobb, drafted with the last pick (No. 64) of the second round in 2011, has 1,762 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns already in his career.
Adams will have every opportunity in Green Bay's offense to follow in the footsteps of Jennings, Nelson and Cobb.
"Athletically, they're similar in some respects and different in others," Thompson said when comparing those four receivers. "If you get back to it, their ball skills are all remarkable; Jordy and Randall and Greg and those guys, and that's the first and foremost thing we look for. If I was going to get stuck on one thing, it would be that."
Adams' college statistics -- which included 3,030 receiving yards and 38 touchdowns in just two seasons -- were inflated while playing in Fresno State's spread offense, but that style also gave the Packers a lot of film to look at when evaluating him.
"I feel like I'm one of the best playmakers in the draft, being able to catch the ball deep or catching the short route and taking it the distance," Adams said. "Obviously I feel like I'm the best red-zone threat in the draft, so I definitely can be utilized in that way."
In some ways, Adams was downgraded as a prospect entering the draft because of the way Fresno State's offense operated. Projecting forward, NFL teams had to analyze whether Adams would look as good on the field when he wasn't playing in that type of offense.
"We didn't run as many routes, so I think people questioned whether or not our receiving corps had those types of NFL routes in our arsenal," Adams said. "Then we went to Pro Day and I definitely showed them that I have it there. It's not going to be anything different because I've been in a pro style and can run all those routes."
Adams also caused some to worry about how his game would translate into the NFL when he ran a 4.56-second 40-yard dash.
"You see a lot of these guys who are maybe track stars, who can run all over the place, but you've still got to go up and catch the ball; and spacing, and have releases, and the guys who are covering you are fast, too," Adams said. "It doesn't mean as much to be able to run a 4.2 if you can't get off of press or you can't go up and high-point a ball, and I feel like those are more important qualities.
"Don't get me wrong, I am definitely a guy that . . . I have good speed. I'm not a 4.3 guy, but I definitely know how to use it and I don't get caught on the field from behind."
While Adams would certainly benefit from being a faster straight-ahead runner, his 39.5-inch vertical jump made him one of the Scouting Combine's top performers in that area.
"When you turn the tape on, you see a guy that can create separation," wide receivers coach Edgar Bennett said. "You see a guy getting open. You see a guy at the top of the route creating separation, creating windows for the quarterback to throw the ball in. And when there is a situation where it's tighter, more of a competitive-type throw, you see a guy with strong hands and physicality that can go up and make a play, make the tough catch."
But if anyone still wants to doubt that he can be the next second-round steal for Thompson, that seems to be fine with Adams.
"I've always been confident in my abilities all throughout my life, and I've been slept on in different situations and I know I can rise to the occasion for whatever it took," Adams said.
Adams could possibly beat out Jarrett Boykin -- as well as fellow rookies Jared Abbrederis and Jeff Janis -- to become the No. 3 receiver on the depth chart this season. But if Adams doesn't display superstar-type ability as a rookie, it'd be unfair to count him out as potentially being the next Jennings, Nelson and Cobb. Of the three, Jennings had the best rookie season by starting 11 games and recording 632 receiving yards and three touchdowns. Nelson started just two games as a rookie and Cobb didn't start any, with neither of them surpassing 375 receiving yards or two touchdowns in their first NFL seasons.
So, will Adams make Thompson 4-for-4 on drafting wide receivers in the second round? Or will Adams be Thompson's first miss? It will likely take more than one season to find out for sure.
"The more I can learn; the quicker the better," Adams said. "I know they'll be guys who are open with helping me out and stuff like that. We'll just learn off of each other and try to be the best wideout group in the NFL."
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