As one of the top tight ends in this year's class, Jerell Adams found himself hearing the same thing repeated from NFL scouts during the pre-draft process: The two tight-end system is back, and teams are looking to make it stronger than ever.
"I know a lot of coaches mentioned it to me," Adams told Around The NFL in a phone interview this week. "The tight end is becoming more important to their offense and I would fit the perfect role for a tight end coming out."
A quick look at the numbers proves him right. Of the top offenses in football last year, half employed the usage of two-tight end systems as part of their base sets an equal number of times -- or more -- than a standard one running back, three-wide receiver formation. Among them, the Cardinals, Saints, Patriots and Panthers enjoyed the benefit of a second receiving threat and blocking asset off the line.
And Adams is in unique company. Coming out of South Carolina, he was graded as one of the best blocking tight ends in his class on top of a career featuring 66 receptions for 917 yards and seven touchdowns, despite playing with three different quarterbacks his senior year. At the moment, NFL Media draft analyst Mike Mayock has Adams rated as one of the best tight ends in the 2016 draft class. Mock drafts have him anywhere from the second round to the fourth.
But an analyst's opinion can't accurately quantify what seems to be a real push by NFL teams to pair their No. 1 tight end -- quickly becoming a more glamorous and high-priced position -- with a second pass-catching threat. Six tight end coaches attended Adams' pro day. Hunter Henry and Austin Hooper, the other top tight ends on Mayock's board, also have received a significant amount of attention in recent weeks. Henry worked out for the Bears and also had six other private workouts. Hooper made a pair of NFL team visits last week.
While Adams would not disclose which clubs he's spoken to, the teams looking for an upgrade at tight end, and teams looking to upgrade their double-tight offense, are starting to emerge. Expect the Titans, Bears, Chargers, Saints, Browns, Texans and Lions to be among the teams in the market for a tight end in two weeks.
Adams doesn't have a favorite or feel like his game is modeled after any particular NFL player -- but he looks up to a few and hopes a pairing with the right one could be fortuitous.
Maybe it's not a trend and just a momentary boon. But by the look of the NFL, the double-tight end is only going to get stronger, and Adams is grateful and excited.