Browns Prospects to Watch: Jamal Adams, Safety, LSU

LSU defensive back Jamal Adams the missing piece to the Browns defense?

It’s no secret that the Browns secondary is the weak link on the defense. In fact, one could argue that the only reason the run defense has gotten weaker during games is because of teams ability to defend the pass.

Cornerbacks Joe Haden and Jamar Taylor have looked average at best, but the biggest issue lays behind them.

The Browns have had Jordan Poyer, Ibraheim Campbell, Derrick Kindred and now Tracy Howard line up at safety. Poyer is probably better suited as a strong safety, but after a vicious hit we won’t be seeing him back in 2017.

Kindred and Howard are rookies but neither of them look comfortable in pass coverage. Campbell was supposed to have a year that showed progression but he’s looked far from that halfway through the season.

The Browns need a safety that can play the ball in the air and be a play maker when called upon. There’s a number of options in the upcoming draft, but there’s one player specifically who fits the bill.

Jamal Adams has been a consistent play maker for the Tigers since his freshman season. Adams is 6’1 and 211 pounds, a good size for the position, and excels in all phases of the game. While he’s been known for his ability to break up passes, he has great instincts in defending against the run as well.

Against the Run

The Browns safeties have struggled immensely against running backs when they get into the secondary. Poor angles and a lack of awareness have been the case for a number of 10-15 yard runs.

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In the frame, Adams diagnoses the run and takes the best angle to wrap up the ball carrier. Jeremy Hills 75 yard touchdown run a couple of weeks ago was a direct result of the safety taking a poor angle and allowing him to break to the outside. Adams did what was expected and didn’t allow the running back an edge to the outside.

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The frame above shows his ability to make tackles in the open field. As the last line of defense, if Adams doesn’t make this play, Auburn scores the go ahead touchdown.

The Browns have been short-changed on reliable tacklers in the secondary. Kindred has been known to bring the boom but he often fails to wrap up. Hue has talked extensively about players finishing tackles, Adams is a finisher.

Defending the Pass

Too often do we see the Browns safeties reading the play but not reacting in time. When it comes to instincts, they’re lacking in their abilities to diagnose and stop a play before it happens.

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This play specifically shows what looks to be a quick strike turned into a screen. What Adams does best here is he kept both the quarterback and the receiving option in his eyesight. When it was time to strike he did so with force.

At 211 pounds, a solid wrap up tackle can look like a hit stick when done at full speed.

However, notice Adams didn’t lose form on a tackle where he easily could have.

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LSU ran man coverage here and dropped their safeties deep. When Adams recognizes that the H-back isn’t coming up field, he immediately comes in support for his corner, who was beat off the line.

Nov 7, 2015; Tuscaloosa, AL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Jake Coker (14) is brought down by LSU Tigers safety Jamal Adams (33) during the first quarter at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Had Adams hesitated in reading the play the receiver likely would have had an easier catch. Instead, he tried to go around Adams positioning and the result was an interception.

Outlook

Currently Adams is projected to go in the first round, and there are safety needy teams currently in the middle of the draft. It’s likely that Adams will be a top 15 pick unless something drastic changes over the next few weeks.

The Browns will either have to trade back with their first pick or move forward with their second to acquire Jamal Adams.

The LSU safety could be what the Browns need in order to help complete the rebuild, it’s a matter of how they draft in the off-season that will determine that.

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