Seahawks Star Jamal Adams Mocks Idea He's Only a 'Box Safety'

Corbin Smith

Since the blockbuster trade went down last weekend, experts and fans alike haven't been shy voicing their opinions on the price the Seahawks paid to land star safety Jamal Adams.

Opting to "go for it," general manager John Schneider dealt two first-round picks, a 2021 third-round pick, and reliable veteran safety Bradley McDougald to the Jets in exchange for Adams. Some have questioned whether the organization made the right call surrendering such an exorbitant amount of compensation for a strong safety.

Typically, such a trade package would be reserved for a franchise quarterback, star pass rusher, a shutdown cornerback, or an elite blind side protector at left tackle.

But in the case of Adams, Schneider and coach Pete Carroll didn't have any reservations about giving up multiple first-round picks to add one of the most versatile weapons in the NFL to the Seahawks defense. His ability to impact games in a myriad of ways, including rushing the passer off the edge, instantly makes him far more valuable than most safeties.

Selected as a First-Team All-Pro in 2019, Adams believes he's far more than a "box safety." Rather than let the noise affect him, however, he simply asks critics who feel Seattle gave up too much in exchange for him to turn on the tape and watch him play.

"At the end of the day, you have to realize that everybody is going to have an opinion about something," Adams told reporters on Thursday. "If I have to go out there and continue to do what I do, continue to learn. That's what matters."

"People that really know ball and watch ball and know me, the whole 'box safety' word – it doesn't even matter. You just turn on the film, I do a bit more than just stay in the box. I'm excited to go out there and compete."

There's no question Adams has done much of his damage playing near the line of scrimmage since entering the NFL as the No. 6 overall selection in 2017. Per Pro Football Focus, he's actually lined up as a linebacker on 1,099 snaps in his career and also saw 328 snaps at strong safety, 868 snaps at free safety, and 318 classified as an "EDGE" defender.

Known for his blitzing prowess, Adams has racked up 12.0 sacks in just three seasons, including a career-high 6.5 sacks for the Jets last year. According to Pro Football Reference, he's also produced 21 quarterback hits and 26 combined pressures over the past two years and his aggressive playing style has also allowed him to amass 28 career tackles for loss and six forced fumbles.

"Anytime I hit the field, I'm hunting," Adams remarked. "It's how I was always raised as far as, on and off the field, if you want something in life you have to go get it. No one is going to give it to you. Nothing is handed out. Everything is earned."

Modeling his game after the likes of Troy Polamalu, Brian Dawkins, and Sean Taylor, Adams has also found great success in coverage regardless of where he lines up on the field. Though he only has two career interceptions to his name, he returned one of them for a touchdown last season and has 25 career pass deflections.

Over the past two seasons per Pro Football Reference, Adams has allowed a 55 percent completion rate and a passer rating of 75 to opposing quarterbacks. In 2019, he allowed less than nine yards per reception and held receivers 187 yards on 21 completions in 14 games.

Regardless of how the Seahawks choose to use Adams, he's proven himself capable of making plays in two-deep looks as well as against slots and tight ends in man coverage while playing closer to the line of scrimmage. Possessing 4.45 40-yard dash speed at 213 pounds, he has the athleticism to close on the football and plays with impressive physicality at the catch point, making him a defender receivers don't want to see in the middle of the field.

Pairing with Quandre Diggs, who he has known since being recruited by Texas out of high school, Adams should give the Seahawks one of the most formidable safety duos in the game. Given his penchant for chasing down quarterbacks as a blitzer, stuffing the run, and making plays in coverage, he's anything but a traditional "box safety" and brings legitimate star power to a defense that badly needed it.

As one of the biggest story lines heading towards players returning to the field, it will be fascinating to see how Seattle opts to deploy Adams in Carroll's scheme to take advantage of his diverse skill set and wide array of talents.

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