LSU safety Jamal Adams has an opportunity to shine in front of NFL scouts on a big stage against No. 1 Alabama on Saturday, but the star junior doesn't need a great showing to solidify his draft stock, according to an AFC scout.
"He has nothing to prove, other than to stay healthy and not blow any assignments. He's that good," the scout told MMQB. "Tremendous athlete with tremendous instincts. Top-20 pick, no doubt."
That makes two SEC West safeties that have drawn the same opinion on their draft status, as Texas A&M safety Justin Evans is regarded by an NFL executive as a top-20 pick, as well.
Of course, with the challenge of playing in coverage against highly regarded pass-catchers like the Crimson Tide's Calvin Ridley and O.J. Howard, Adams' task certainly weighs heavily from a team perspective. But as a draft prospect, Adams' standing in the scouting community is looking more firm. In fact, earlier this month, an NFL executive went even higher in his praise of the third-year starter, calling Adams a top-10 pick.
One factor that will help Adams' evaluation as a prospect is his versatility, which was described by another scout this way: "Enough range to play free safety, enough toughness and strength to play in the box."
Underclassmen like Adams have until a Jan. 16 deadline to apply for early draft eligibility. If he applies for and is granted eligibility, he'll be joining a draft class of safeties that is considered to be a deep one in the NFL scouting community.
The junior ranks third for LSU in tackles (50) and is still seeking his first interception of the season.