Arkansas State wide receiver and aspiring NFL Draft prospect Jonathan Adams Jr. has been one of the most productive pass catchers in the Sun Belt Conference. 2020 was a new peak for Adams, but did he do enough to earn a spot on the draft board in April? Here’s a look at Jonathan Adams Jr.’s skill set. What kind of upside does he possess, and does he have a future in the NFL?
Jonathan Adams Jr. NFL Draft Profile
- Height: 6’2″
- Weight: 210 pounds
- Position: Wide Receiver
- School: Arkansas State
- Current Year: Senior
Tony Pauline’s Jonathan Adams Jr. Scouting Report
Positives: Two-year starter who posted a career-best eight touchdowns last season. Long, sure-handed wideout who wins out for the contested throws. Settles into the soft spot of the defense, uses his frame to shield away defenders, and extends his hands to offer the quarterback a target.
Snatches the ball away from his frame and displays outstanding eye/hand coordination. Tracks the pass in the air, uses his hands to separate from defenders, and nicely times receptions. Plays big football and wins out in battles. Nicely adjusts to the errant pass and makes the reception in stride.
Negatives: Lacks quickness and play speed. Lacks balance in and out of breaks and struggles positioning himself on exit to make the reception. Plays to one speed.
Analysis: Adams was very productive the past two seasons at Arkansas State and came through during the big moments. He’s a possession receiver who does not play to his 40-time, but he comes with a good degree of upside.
Jonathan Adams Jr. Player Profile
Jonathan Adams Jr. wasn’t a widely known wide receiver prospect in the 2017 recruiting class. But he didn’t need to be. Coming in as a mere two-star recruit on 247 Sports’ board, many analysts overlooked Adams early on. However, he happened to be from Jonesboro, Arkansas, the home of Arkansas State University — where his father played for the Red Wolves a generation earlier.
At the time, Arkansas State was entering its fourth season with Blake Anderson at the helm. The Red Wolves logged six straight winning seasons despite Hugh Freeze, Gus Malzahn, and Bryan Harsin walking through the head coaching door over that span.
Arkansas State had also been at least a co-conference champion in five of the six previous years. Despite being a small school, the Red Wolves were the class of the Sun Belt. Yet, they extended an opportunity to Adams to walk on and prove himself to his hometown team and he did not disappoint.
Jonathan Adams Jr.’s career as an Arkansas State wide receiver
Jonathan Adams Jr. surprised early, hitting the field on offense as a true freshman. He only caught 8 passes for 77 yards and a score, but he managed to give coaches a glimpse of his upside. He received an extended role the following year, amassing 17 catches for 267 yards and 3 touchdowns. As a true sophomore, Adams earned a scholarship from Blake Anderson.
Adams entered the starting lineup in 2019, becoming one of the team’s top performers on the boundary. He accumulated 851 yards and 5 scores on 62 catches across 13 games. In the process, Adams earned third-team All-Sun Belt honors and headed into the 2020 season as one of the highest-rated returning receivers in the conference.
The Arkansas State wide receiver only played in ten games in 2020. Nonetheless, he still managed to record career-highs in every receiving category. Adams stockpiled points last season, rattling off 1,111 yards and 12 touchdowns on 79 receptions. His season was highlighted by a 3-touchdown outing against Kansas State and a 15-catch, 177-yard, 2-touchdown performance against Georgia State.
Predictably, Adams declared for the 2021 NFL Draft in mid-December. He suffered a hairline fracture in his hip late in the year but recovered in time for pro days.
Jonathan Adams Jr.’s best fits in the 2021 NFL Draft
Jonathan Adams Jr. is one of the more exciting mid-to-late-round draft prospects in the 2021 NFL Draft. Moreover, there’s a chance he goes even earlier than his projection after his pro day. Adams measured in a bit smaller than expected. Nevertheless, he registered elite explosiveness numbers with a 39-inch vertical and a 132-inch broad jump.
He also turned in a respectable three-cone time of 7.04, a 40-yard dash time of 4.59, and a stellar 1.56 10-yard split. Overall, he turned in a Relative Athletic Score (RAS) of 7.54.
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Adams’ athletic traits do an excellent job of contextualizing his skills. The Arkansas State wide receiver isn’t the fastest player on the field, but he’s extremely explosive. This makes him an incredibly dangerous weapon at the catch point. Adams has the vertical burst to position himself well for contested catches.
He also has the instincts, toughness, and hand strength necessary to high point and corral passes with defenders draped over him. Due to his contested catch ability, Adams is a touchdown waiting to happen both down the field and in the red zone.
Where will Adams Jr. be selected in the NFL Draft?
On top of his uncanny flexibility and feel in contested situations, Adams also flashed plus awareness as a route runner. However, he needs to expand his route tree and improve at creating separation in the NFL. Nevertheless, NFL scouting circles will be buzzing for Adams on Day 3.
He may have to wait a bit to get an opportunity on Sundays, but he has the explosive athleticism and alpha mentality to be a spark plug in any receiving corps. Teams in need of X-receiver depth such as the Washington Football Team, the New York Giants, and the Detroit Lions, would benefit from drafting Adams.
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