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A five-star defensive tackle recruit out of high school, Adams was considered one of the prized defenders in the 2013 recruiting cycle, committing to Auburn over Alabama, Clemson, Georgia and others. He didn't start as a true freshman, but provided a spark off the bench and finished with 20 tackles and 1.0 sack. Adams became a starter as a sophomore (10 starts) and recorded 43 tackles, 8.0 tackles for loss and 3.0 sacks. He started all 13 games as a junior and recorded 44 tackles, 3.0 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks and a pair of forced fumbles. Adams again started all 13 games as a senior and had his most productive season with 44 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks and one forced fumble to earn Second Team All-SEC and All-American honors. He accepted his invitation to the 2017 Senior Bowl.
A three-year starter at Auburn, Adams saw most of his snaps as a nose tackle or face up with the guard, occasionally kicking outside as a defensive end. He has impressive movement skills for his size and generates force with his initial step to penetrate gaps and convert his speed to power. While his athleticism is his best trait, Adams isn't much of a pass rush threat, struggling to string together moves or reset his rush if he doesn't win off the snap. His limited skill-set creates scheme fit concerns, but Adams has enough natural ability to survive as part of a rotation - projects best as a three-technique tackle.
STRENGTHS: Surges off the snap and uses his length to quickly attack blockers before they can react ... generates the initial momentum that is tough for blockers to slow down ... developed a knack for timing up the snap...lateral agility to twist and wrap around bodies - at his best stunting to find a clear runway to the quarterback ... flashes the quickness to close and finish when he gains his freedom from blocks ... athleticism to scrape down the line of scrimmage when gap-searching ... quick hands to snatch, grab and pull ... gives consistent effort and looks to mix things up ... durable and played in every game the past four seasons, including 26 consecutive starts ... production didn't see many peaks or valleys, posting steady numbers - added two blocked kicks as a senior.
WEAKNESSES: Leggy mover with tall hips and pad level ... below-average arm length and hand size for the position ... lacks the brute strength to dictate the point of attack ... very active, but doesn't consistently go anywhere, making it too easy for blockers to control him ... counter measures and shed skills lack seasoning ... bad habit of lunging - can usually catch himself due to his natural athleticism, but often needs a moment to recollect his balance ... frustrating habit of lowering his helmet and losing track of his target and the ball ... digests what he sees, but doesn't anticipate ... prone to containment issues when lined up outside, allowing chunk runs to his side of the field ... below average sack numbers reflect his savvy as a pass rusher.