The modern NFL Draft began in 1967. That year, Spartans were selected with the Nos. 1, 2, 4 and 8 picks. Things have changed since then, but MSU has had at least one player selected in every NFL Draft since that first common draft, and 2013 will continue that streak.
Johnny Adams enters the NFL Draft after using all five years of eligibility.
Adams came to MSU not very heralded. He was a three-star recruit and chose MSU over a host of MAC and Big East schools 2008, but got on the field in his true freshman season. As a freshman, he recorded 21 tackles, two tackles for loss and two interceptions, returning one for a touchdown. He also broke up five passes.
He played in three games in 2009 and received a medical redshirt for a shoulder injury.
In 2010, Adams recorded 50 tackles, two tackles for loss, three interceptions and 10 passes defended, earning second team All-Big Ten honors.
As a junior in 2011, his numbers were similar: 51 tackles, four tackles for loss, three interceptions and nine passes defended, earning first team All-Big Ten honors. He considered declaring early for the NFL, which seemed a bit surprising. He was projected to be the top senior cornerback the next season. He ended up deciding to come back. Looking back, you wonder if he regrets it (in terms of draft stock).
His senior season was a bit of a letdown: 35 tackles, three tackles for loss, three interceptions, 10 passes defended, but still earned first team All-Big Ten numbers. Not bad numbers, but he was beaten deep quite a few times, including for what ended up being the winning touchdown against Ohio State. --
MSU's defense relies on heavy blitzing and leaves its cornerbacks in one-on-one coverage. When the pressure doesn't get there, it can put the cornerbacks in tough spots. MSU's front four and pressure weren't as good in 2012 as they were in 2011, so it's not a coincidence to see Adams' numbers drop off and he seemingly get beat more. He also dealt with some injuries, which didn't help things.
But what that does is help the MSU corners develop one-on-one skills. The defensive backfield has been one of the strongest parts of the Spartan defense and will be for years to come.
The good news is that Adams won't be frequently left on an island in the NFL. He'll have more help.
He's a bit undersized, but he's got top-end speed and plays very physical. He's very aware, doing a good job coming off his man to defend a pass or tackle in another spot. He reads well in zone plays.
Adams will have trouble against bigger receivers, and his NFL role is likely as a nickel back covering speedy slot receivers. Injuries are a concern for scouts because of his frame.
He's projected to be a late-round pick, but he's got the skillset to have a decent career in the NFL.
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