Wide receiver Davante Adams was half of one of the most prolific passing duos of the past two seasons at Fresno State. Along with quarterback Derek Carr, Adams was able to catch an astounding 233 passes for 3,031 yards and 38 touchdowns in his freshman and sophomore seasons. Adams was a big reason why the Bulldogs were able to win back to back Mountain West Championships and opted to declare for the NFL Draft, leaving with the only quarterback he had in the valley to the NFL.
For the NFL, Adams is an intriguing prospect because of his strength and ability to go up and catch the football. He is also able to work underneath and create yards after the catch, but he is still a work in progress when it comes to the technical aspects of the game. His raw ability to make plays down the field could allow him to make an early impact in the NFL as he develops. Adams warrants a top 100 pick but could be a really nice player for a long time if he can round out his game.
Vitals & Build
Adams is listed at 6’2” 216lbs with a strong, broad build for the position. His raw speed appears to be relatively average with a decent burst and good agility. Adams displays good body control and a sense of spatial awareness. He still has physical potential to gain strength, but much of his effort will probably be focused on trying to improve his speed.
Route Running & Technique
Adams has a decent stance that will have a small amount of bounce as he comes off of the ball. What makes it more unusual is that he will fire off of the ball and attack routes but often uses a hesitation move which basically has him not move at all off of the snap and wait to make his move. The move has been effective at times, but it is something he is going to want to all but eliminate at the NFL. This raises a slight concern with how well he can get off of the line in the pros, but with time and coaching, he should be fine.
In terms of routes, Adams has run a good number of slants, bubble screens, drags, comebacks, and go routes. He has not been asked to run many disciplined or complicated routes. Adams needs to get more precise and get more efficient with his movements, especially with his feet. Nevertheless, Adams is a weapon going down the field but is a huge weapon in the red zone where his size and strength make him a threat inside and his ability to go up and get the ball outside makes him a difficult dual threat.
Slants and go routes are spots where Adams does a nice job. He uses his body well and makes a big target to catch the football and gain yardage. Adams is deceptive with his speed and is able to climb and get behind opponents going deep, but he is savvy in how he works to get to the football when it is in the air. In situations where the opponent is even with him and the ball is thrown inside, he uses his hands effectively to work underneath and box the opponent out from the play.
In some respects, Adams has an interesting amount of upside for when he does get better at running routes if willing to put in the work. It also means he has a good amount of work to put in to become a more polished player.
Adams has shown he has the ability to go up and high point the football at an extremely high level. He tracks the ball really well and has a good sense of how to position himself to create space to make it easier to snatch the ball out of the air. As a result, he shows a big catch radius.
Adams has shown the ability to snatch the ball out of the air, but will occasionally lose the ball on the way down or have trouble keeping it. If he can continue to increase his hand strength, he should avoid some of those missed opportunities.
The other issue that creeps up for Adams is he seems more comfortable catch the ball over his head than he does when it is at his body level. He lets too many passes get into his body, which slows down how he catches the ball. Adams seems to have more miscues on passes on him than away from him. The more difficult passes force him to concentrate on the ball more and as a result have better results, so he does not have the concentration drops that will occasionally happen to him when passes are on him.
Run After Catch
Adams is not a burner, but he is able to generate yards after the catch. He is shifty and is able to work through traffic making opponents miss. In addition, he does have the strong build and can use a nasty stiff arm to jolt opponents.
Adams needs to get more efficient with how he catches the football and makes the transition from pass catcher to runner. At times, he does a nice job but too often he is slowed down by catching the ball with his body. If he can get better in that area, it will make him play faster, making him far more dangerous.
Adams has a strong build and wide body that allows him to be a terrific blocker if he wants to be. He is easily able to get in position and shield opponents from the play with the ability to drive opponents down the field.
The issue for Adams is that he does not stay with blocks or finish them enough. He will give up on them early, not play through the whistle and while he is generally with them long enough for them to get the job done, he can send a message should he want and just beat up the opponent. Occasionally, he will also end up with a narrow base and make it so opponents have an easier time to get around him.
There is no system that really jumps out when it comes to Adams, because he has not distinguished himself one way or another in that respect. He has the ability to make plays over the middle of the field and work underneath because of his big body, but is also able to go down the field and make plays over corners.
Adams needs to get better in his route running and be a more polished player but he could be in play for just about any team that is attracted to his broad build and ability to track the ball down the field. It seems as though Adams might start out as depth initially as he learns to run better routes but could see time in specific situations to take advantage of his size and strength that could make him a weapon in the red zone and going down the field.
Adams’ game is somewhat similar that of Anquan Boldin of the San Francisco 49ers. Boldin came out of Florida State with what was considered underwhelming speed, but really understood how to take advantage of his broad build, catch the football and get yards after the catch. Adams is not as polished as Boldin was or quite as broad, but has that same knack for creating space and high pointing the football.
Davante Adams was a prolific pass catcher in college and he displays an impressive, raw ability to catch the football, both down the field and in the red zone. If he can match that with polish and technique, he can be a good NFL receiver for quite a while. He projects as a big target who can move the chains, score touchdowns and make some big plays down the field. Adams warrants a top 100 pick and has some utility early but has some potential down the road as well that could make him an attractive draft target.
Some of the film used for this scouting breakdown was provided by the good folks at draftbreakdown.com