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2018 NFL Draft prospect profile: Josh Adams, RB, Notre Dame

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Is Adams the next big back for Big Blue?

NCAA Football: Navy at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants have several needs on offense, but a few of them can be summed up into a general need for more size and physicality. Former GM Jerry Reese tried to add that by signing WR Brandon Marshall, TE Rhett Ellison, and RG D.J. Fluker. However, all three had their snaps limited by injury (in the case of Marshall and Fluker) and coaching decisions (in the case of Fluker and Ellison).

The need still persists despite the departure of Reese and Ben McAdoo.

New GM Dave Gettleman is certainly a believer in bigger players, often prioritizing size in his drafts for the Carolina Panthers. Though the Giants may go elsewhere at the top of the draft, they could look to add some “thud” to their backfield in the middle rounds. Notre Dame’s Josh Adams is a running back option who not only brings size and power, but also has the potential to be a big play threat as well.

Measurables

Pros

  • Big, powerful back, but carries his weight well.
  • Blends power to run over defenders with the speed to run away from them.
  • Surprising agility for a bigger and taller running back.
  • Flashes receiving ability.
  • Patient in following his blockers.
  • Willing blocker for his teammates.
  • Reportedly strong work ethic and was voted a team captain in 2017 by his teammates.

Cons

  • Long legs make for a big “strike zone.”
  • Occasionally hesitant behind the line of scrimmage.
  • Doesn’t have a strong “burst.” Needs a bit of a runway to hit top speed.
  • Struggles to create when forced to bounce runs behind the line of scrimmage.
  • Benefitted from a tremendous offensive line.

Prospect video

What they’re saying

IN OUR VIEW: The Irish campaigned hard for Adams as a Heisman Trophy candidate with the creation of a 33Trucking website as part of his official player profile and the comparison fits well as the big back can generate power and surprising speed like a semi-truck motoring down the interstate. Unfortunately, Adams is about as quick out of the gate and agile as a semi-truck, as well, needing a runway to get moving, projecting as a mid to late Day Three pick.”

- Rob Rang (NFLDraftScout)

Does He Fit The Giants?

You don’t normally look at a 6’2”, 230-pound (pre-combine) running back and think “big play threat”, but that is exactly what Josh Adams is. He lead the nation in 2017 with 8 touchdown runs of 59 yards or more, and was the first running back since 1996 to have a 70+ yard touchdown run in four straight games.

If you can get Adams a bit of daylight, he turns into a nightmare for opposing defenses. While he struggles when defenses are able to hold up at the line of scrimmage, Adams is too fast for most college linebackers and too big for most college defensive backs. And while I’m at it, I’m going to go ahead and disagree, at least a bit, with Rang and say that I saw a few instances of Adams stringing together cuts to evade tacklers and pick his way through the trash before turning upfield. That isn’t the bread and butter of his game, but he is more nimble than he is given credit for.

However, those long legs that eat up turf in the open field are a liability at or behind the line of scrimmage, where front seven players can target them and bring him down before he can build a head of steam and run behind his pads.

All in all, Adams isn’t for every team. However, he should have considerable upside in a scheme that lets him get upfield as soon as possible. Whether or not that is the Giants remains to be seen.