Every year Pro Football Focus names one under-the-radar player on each team as their “Secret Superstar” for that season. Generally, it’s a player that they believe is primed to take a leap in the following season. They have previously named Jonathan Goff, Linval Joseph, Henry Hynoski, and Johnathan Hankins as secret superstars for the New York Giants.
This year they name former undrafted free agent rookie Andrew Adams as the Giants’ secret superstar.
S Andrew Adams
2016 snaps: 747
Key stat: Played 77.7 percent of the team’s defensive snaps as an undrafted rookie free agent.
Landon Collins was transformed as a player by moving to strong safety where he could be a bigger impact force in and around the box, but the play of Adams in his old free safety role was also a huge factor in the transformation of New York’s defense. Adams got his chance to start in Week 5 and put together a sequence of impressive displays, ending the year with a PFF grade of 79.4.
Raptor’s Take: It’s interesting that PFF named Adams as the Giants’ “Secret Superstar” for his work as a starter after leaving him off the roster altogether when they graded them earlier in the off-season.
Adams became a very pleasant surprise who emerged in a tough situation for the Giants. Starting the year on the practice squad as an undrafted rookie, nobody considered Adams a likely starter on what would become a dominant defense. His first game in the NFL, he made a mistake on special teams that (arguably) led to the Giants’ defeat, and many predicted that he would quickly be cut.
He wasn’t, and following a rash of injuries in the secondary, Adams became the starting free safety out of necessity, and he quickly flourished. While he wasn’t the Giants’ flashiest play-maker, his steady reliability on the back end helped to enable Steve Spagnuolo to open up his aggressive defense.
The Giants got contributions from a variety of young players in 2016, but Adams is a good choice for their “Secret Superstar.”
The bigger question, perhaps, is whether or not he will even be a starter in 2017. He enters camp in competition with Darian Thompson, who won the job out of training camp last season, but lost his rookie season to injury. Thompson is generally believed to have a higher ceiling as a natural free safety than Adams, but it will be interesting to see how his lost season weighs against Adams’ season of starting experience come camp.