Talk about filling a need. If there was one, absolutely huge glaring need this year for the Baltimore Ravens, it was on Special Teams, specifically in the kick return area. With primary kick return specialist, David Reed, having a shaky year and then suffering a serious knee injury that could side line him through next season, the Ravens appear desperate to find a permanent solution for kick returns.
Although the Ravens have deployed cornerback Lardarius Webb as the primary punt return man, his emergence as a top tier defensive back makes his value to the Ravens’ defense too great to have him continue returning kicks at the risk of an injury. And while Tom Zbikowski has done a solid job filling in for David Reed, he lacks the explosiveness and home-run hitting capabilities that the Ravens have lacked as of late.
Enter, Joe Adams. The dynamic WR/KR has had a stellar 4 year career at Arkansas amassing 164 receptions, 2,410 yards, and 17 touchdowns. As a punt return man, between his junior and senior seasons, Joe Adams had 62 returns for 570 yards and 5 TDs. Follow along after the "Jump" for more on Adams.
First, let’s take a look at some of the numbers on Joe Adams:
Height: 5 ft. 11 in. / Weight: 190 lbs. / High 40 yard dash time: 4.49 seconds / Low 40 yard dash time: 4.38
Currently, Joe Adams is projected to be chosen between the 3rd-5th round of the upcoming NFL Draft. His stock is currently on the rise after having a great outing at the Senior Bowl where he posted 8 catches for 133 yards. Due to his elite speed, versatility, and home run ability, Joe Adams may not last very long into the middle rounds where a team could find a huge steal and possibly up grade their receiving group and return game in one fell swoop. Here are some thoughts on Adams:
- While lined up as a WR, he has the speed to blow past defenders.
- When the ball is in the air, he’s great at adjusting his body position and finding the ball.
- While returning punts he’s phenomenal at reading the blocks and attacking the open lanes. His lateral quickness is stellar and he has the ability to reverse the whole field and beat you up the sidelines.
- He’s great at shaking off tackles and keeping his balance.
- If he finds open space and running room, you simply aren’t going to catch him.
- Has incredible vision and decision making while running with the ball.
- Doesn’t have great size - Concerned about how he would handle bigger, more physical corners in the NFL.
- Ball control needs improvement.
- Could improve upon having sharper routes and over all better hands.
As you can see, my pros far out-weigh my cons for Joe Adams. My only last con on him would be that he’s probably not going to last past the 3rd round in this year’s draft simply because some team will have done their homework on him. To me, it’s clear how the 2011 SEC Special Teams POY would fit into the Baltimore Ravens. He automatically fills a need for a return specialist and provides Joe Flacco with another speedy down-field threat that could suit the Air Coryell system that’s run here. He’s projected as a #3 WR with home-run threat written all over him. As a speedy slot receiver, lined up next to Torrey Smith, those two could wreak havoc on opposing defenses for years.