If Jerell Adams’ week here is as good as the week he had in Mobile, Ala., at the Senior Bowl in January, the South Carolina product will be one of the surprise names in the early rounds of the NFL Draft.
“A lot of scouts said I had a great week (at the Senior Bowl),” Adams said. “A lot of coaches said they didn’t think I was as tough as I was or that I could hold a block as long as I could. I felt like I had a great week down there. I think I raised my stock a little bit.”
Analysts agree. NFL Media’s Mike Mayock rates Adams the third-best tight end in this year’s draft class, behind Arkansas’ Hunter Henry and Stanford’s Austin Hooper.
“Adams doesn’t have the surest hands in this draft, but he is unique in that he can challenge defenses down the field and shows the potential to be helpful as a run blocker,” NFL.com analyst Lance Zierlein wrote on the website. “Adams should come in as a quality backup with an ‘eventual starter’ tag tied to him.”
Adams – 6-foot-5, 244 pounds -- knows he will get questions this week about why he wasn’t more productive at South Carolina given what he’s already shown to scouts. The Pinewood native had 66 catches for 977 yards and seven touchdowns in four years with the Gamecocks. His best season came last year when he had 28 receptions for 421 yards and three touchdowns.
“I just tell them I am what I put on film. I tried to make the best on what I do,” Adams said. “A lot of them know we struggled offensively with the quarterback and the coaching staff.”
Adams spoke to former teammates and current NFL players Bruce Ellington and D.J. Swearinger about what to expect from this week’s Combine events.
“They said just go down there and do what you do, block all the noise out,” Adams said. “You might see some guys laughing around but always remember that somebody is always watching you to see what you do. It’s a business trip, do what you’ve got to do.”
Adams arrived here on Wednesday and went through medical examinations and interviews with team personnel and media members Thursday. He will do his bench press repetitions and take the league’s psychological tests on Friday and then have his on-field drills, including the 40-yard dash, on Saturday. He hopes to run “a low 4.5 or 4.6” in the 40 on Saturday, he said.
He also hopes his intangibles are evident to teams during the interview process.
“I feel like I’m a great teammate, a great leader, very coachable,” he said. “I just play hard, give it 100 percent in everything I do.”
He is currently projected as a mid-round selection but could move higher if he keeps the momentum he built at the Senior Bowl, however he isn’t setting any goals for a particular round, he said.
“I only set one goal in life,” he said, “and that’s to get better every day no matter what I am doing, be better than the day before.”
Top tight ends
1. Hunter Henry, Arkansas
2. Nick Vannett, Ohio State
3. Bryce Williams, East Carolina
4. Jerell Adams, USC
5. Tyler Higbee, Western Kentucky
The recent success of athletic tight ends in the NFL will prompt scouts to value physical traits over production. Henry is a polished tight end capable of making an impact as a "Y" (conventional tight end) or "H" (movement tight end). Williams and Adams are long and rangy.