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Gabriel: Scouting LSU S Jamal Adams

By Greg Gabriel--

Editor's note: You can read Gabriel's other scouting reports on highly regarded NFL Draft prospects by clicking here.

(CBS) A popular name thrown around for the secondary-needy Bears to draft at No. 3 overall is LSU safety Jamal Adams.

To that line of thinking and those asking, my answer is always the same: no, not that high. Adams was a really good college safety who should become a solid NFL player, but he isn't special. To take a safety at No. 3, he has to be special.

Dating back to the 1995 draft, no safety has gone higher than No. 5 overall. The last one to be selected that high was Chiefs safety Eric Berry in 2010, and he was all kinds of special. Berry had the size (6-foot, 211 pounds), the speed (4.47 in the 40-yard dash), could leap out of the building (43-inch vertical) and was quick and physical with great ball skills.

In 2004, the late Sean Taylor was selected at No. 5 by the Redskins. He was also a special player who ran a 4.50 40-yard dash, had a 35-inch vertical and had been a consummate playmaker at Miami.

For his part, Adams was disappointing at the NFL Combine in February. His 40 time was 4.56, which is below average, and his vertical jump of 31.5 inches was poor. The rest of his timed drill work was average.

On tape, there's a lot to like about Adams play. He plays a little faster than he timed and shows strength. He has shown that he can line up and play man on slot receivers, and he looks to have cornerback-type man cover skills. In zone, he has good receiver awareness and doesn't get caught out of position. Adams has good flexibility, can stay low in his pedal, turn quickly and shows a burst coming out of his turn. When he transitions, he moves quickly and takes no false steps. He has good ball reactions and ball skills, totaling five interceptions over the last two seasons.

I like that Adams plays a physical type game. He's a consistent tackler who hits and wraps and at times can blow up his opponent. He makes a lot of plays in run support and is good at attacking the line of scrimmage and taking on blockers.

Adams will should start as a rookie and contribute. It'd be a fine move for the Bears to select him in the draft -- just not at No. 3. If Chicago wants Adams, it should trade down, get an extra pick in return and select him at a slot that's more commensurate with his athleticism, skill set and position. Of course, finding that deal can be easier said than done.

In the draft, clubs have to take value at their position. Drafting a slower, non-explosive safety in the top five doesn't provide value. History backs up that point.

Greg Gabriel is a former NFL talent evaluator who is an on-air contributor for 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter @greggabe.

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