Would Jamal Adams even fit the 49ers Defense?
As the anticipation of a potential Jamal Adams trade awaits, one can’t help to think, "Does Adams even fit the 49ers defensive scheme?"
Undoubtedly Adams is a top safety in the league. His abilities are not being questioned. But, the honest truth is when a player is accustomed to a certain system, sometimes change can be hard to adapt.
That’s why All49ers Sports Illustrated brought in former safety Chanceller James. The former Boise State standout spent the 2018 season and part of the 2019 preseason with the team.
“When it comes to transition, I don’t see a problem with him transitioning," James said. "I think he becomes a better safety in that defense. With the Jets, they do a lot of things where they leave their safeties by themselves. With the 49ers defense, everybody is taking care of each other.”
Even with the majority of Adams coverage snaps being assigned to man coverage, over the past two seasons Adams has allowed only a 55 completion percentage and a 74.8 passer rating when targeted. Now, imagine his abilities in a 49ers defense where “everybody is taking care of each other.”
Adams has blitzed the quarterback 134 more times than Jaquiski Tartt over the past two seasons. “What Adams adds to that is his football IQ," James said. "The reason he blitzes sometimes with the Jets it’s because like maybe he’s in man and what if his TE blocks or anything like that, he just gets to rush the quarterback.”
The 49ers defense is famously known for its cover three scheme. “With the 49ers defense," James said, "he’s going to have a buzz drop and he’s going to know the routes so now he’s going to be able to pick off the routes faster. It’s not about blitzing anymore. It’s about how he’s going to transition into actually being a coverage safety. He’s already a good one so I just see him getting better.
“When it comes to perfect fit at that position, they said Kam Chancellor was a perfect fit. Now they say Derwin James is a perfect fit.”
Chancellor had zero sacks in his final six seasons. While James, who plays the same position in the same scheme, had 3.5 sacks in his rookie season. Proving Adams’s prototype can excel.
But there’s still push back.
Due to the Jets scheme and consistently being around the line of scrimmage, Adams has developed the reputation of being a box safety. “If anyone asks, Adams is the best safety in the league right now," James said. "Why wouldn’t you want him there? He can play in the box and he can play back deep.”
Adams has excelled with the Jets, even with the lack of support system to make his job easier on Sundays. Adding Adams wouldn’t just give the 49ers the best defense in the league -- it would give them the top three, if not the best players at all three levels of the defense in Nick Bosa, Fred Warner, and Adams.
The Super Bowl window is now. There is no time to wait. Go get Adams.