The Misunderstood Value of Seahawks Safety Jamal Adams

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Seahawks safety Jamal Adams broke the single-season sack record for a defensive back a couple of weeks ago. He ironically accomplished it against the team that traded him away this past offseason, the New York Jets. Adams is extremely misunderstood in terms of his value to his team in various different aspects. Adams is often ridiculed for being a pass-rush first defensive back, despite pass rushing being the most valuable part of defense. Adams’ energy and leadership is unparalleled. This made me extremely wary (from the Jets perspective) of trading away Adams this past July. You can check out my initial trade reaction article by clicking here. Let’s dive into the NFL’s most misunderstood player and absolute superstar, Jamal Adams.

Pass Rushing and Play Style

Seahawks safety Jamal Adams is not seen as a top defensive back by many people because of his tendency to blitz. This is ridiculous on countless levels. For some odd reason, his pass rushing ability from the safety spot is not seen as close to as valuable as that of a classic edge rusher.

It makes no sense. Pass rushing is the most important aspect of defenses in the NFL today. Pass rushers are paid and looked as the most valuable position in football, outside of quarterback. I dug in to see just how much they are valued by teams. Of the top 10 highest paid players annually at every position, edge rushers rank second with an annual salary of $20.6 million. They trail only quarterbacks.

I understand it is not prototypical for a safety to be a premier pass rusher. But Adams is, and should be valued as such. Adams has 9.5 sacks in 10 games, an insane amount even for a natural pass rusher. He somehow broke the single-season defensive back sack record in just about half a season of games, as he accomplished the feat in his ninth game. Adams puts up his pass rushing numbers in way less snaps than actual pass rushers do. Let’s give it some perspective. Za’Darius Smith is one of the best pass rushers in the business. The Packers edge rusher has 11.5 sacks and 46 pressures this season. Adams has 9.5 sacks and 31 pressures. Smith has rushed the passer on 482 snaps, while Adams has on just 95. To dig a little deeper, this means Adams pressures the quarterback on 33% of pass rushing snaps, while Smith does on just 10%. This is a crazy difference. Granted, Smith may face more double teams than Adams, but this does not take away from how much more wildly efficient Adams is. This is nothing against Smith, but it is just giving some perspective on the effectiveness of Adams as a pass rusher.

The prototypical safety is one who sits back in coverage. But as football becomes more positionless, we need to start recognizing players for their overall impact. The skill of Jamal Adams is extremely misunderstood. Adams is downgraded because he plays safety as more of a hybrid edge rusher/linebacker. It is ridiculous, and Adams deserves to be recognized as a wildly impactful player due to his historical pass rushing ability. Not to mention, Adams is still very playable in coverage, despite his down season.

Attitude and Effort

Seahawks safety Jamal Adams has a flare to him. His attitude is electric and infectious. Adams gives his all every single play and will let you hear about it. He is a leader and is beloved by teammates and coaches.

Jamal’s a fiery guy. I love him. He’s passionate about the game, he’s one of the best players in the game, for sure, one of the best defensive players. He can do it all. He’s got the energy, he’s got the passion, he’s got the knowledge. He brings something, for sure, to our team, not just for the defense, for our whole football team. He’s a great leader. He’s going to be a great football player for a long time. I’m glad he’s on our team.

– Russell Wilson on the impact of Jamal Adams

His attitude puts a target on his back. Some people seem to hate players who bring effort to a flashy style of play. Adams gets a similar treatment as Russell Westbrook of the NBA does. Westbrook is known for his energy, effort, and trash talk. His brand of basketball is aggressive. He is a leader who his teammates love. Westbrook is not a sharpshooting point guard, so his play style is not popular. Westbrook aligns exactly like Adams. Their brash and energetic style of play is often looked down upon for not being prototypical. Adams also is more of a blitzing safety than a coverage one, so for some reason he is seen as less valuable than other safeties. This is similar to Westbrook not being a sharpshooter and him being seen as less valuable than other point guards because of it.

Adams never gives up on any play. His effort can be seen on every single snap. Adams will bring his all on each and every play, doing whatever it takes from sideline to sideline. This can be seen below on a pure effort sack from Sunday’s victory for Seattle.

People dislike Adams for his attitude and it makes little sense. It is yet another asset Adams brings to the table as his teammates love him and his leadership is undeniable. Adams’ effort is obvious on every play and is infectious on his teammates. Adams might be the best trash talker in the league and it is a fun and underrated aspect of his game. Jamal Adams brings so much with his flashy attitude, unrelenting effort, and infectious leadership.

Final Thoughts

Jamal Adams is a bold player who is deeply misunderstood. Adams is seen as not as valuable as other defensive backs because of his unorthodox skills. In reality, he is a premier pass rusher, who is extremely talented and one of the most valuable players in the game. Adams is also oftentimes viewed as too flashy and brash. In reality, he is a fantastic leader who brings a crazy amount of energy to the game. Jamal Adams is extremely misunderstood in terms of his talent and attitude, and he deserves to be recognized as one of the NFL’s best players and leaders.

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Adam is a passionate Jets fan from New York City. He has been a NFL writer and editor for OTH since 2020.