Vernon Adams: Armchair Scouting Report
Vernon Adams ran the Oregon offense to perfection this year while he was healthy, and it shows on film.
What the Film Shows
Adams is extremely mobile. … He extends many plays with his legs. Sometimes in those situations he tried too hard to make a play, and took a sack rather than throwing it away. He was also used on many designed runs and rollouts by the Ducks. On said rollouts, Adams showed his accuracy on the run. He is also able to complete passes accurately with no platform. Though he displays only average arm strength, Adams has good touch down the field, and is able to attack opposing defenses vertically. He also boasts a quick release.
What His Numbers Say
Here are Adams’ career statistics courtesy of the Washington Post:
I also compiled his final season game log, along with Football Outsiders S&P+ pass defense rank for the opposing defense:
As you can see, Adams started his playing career at Eastern Washington at the 1-AA level. He was dominant there, averaging 339 yards passing and 3.6 touchdowns per game during his final two seasons. He was excellent at Oregon as well, completing about 65 percent of his passes and compiling an AYA of 11.2. For some context, that is second to only Marcus Mariota in the Chip Kelly/Mark Helfrich era. Adams’ biggest concern to me is that he has missed multiple games in two straight seasons. He will need to be more durable to be counted on at the next level.
What His Measurables Reflect
Adams definitely underwhelms in the measurables department, but it should be noted he showed outstanding agility at the Combine. He is short and not incredibly heavy, which we’ve seen to be a reason to slip in the NFL Draft. His 9.125 inch hands are not ideal, but as Jonathan Bales points out, that disadvantage is mitigated by Adams’ mobility.
Player Comparison: Russell Wilson/David Garrard
When I watch Adams, the first player that comes to mind is Russell Wilson, who has showcased excellent mobility and ability to throw on the run in a small frame. I also happen to think Wilson is one of the best quarterbacks in football, and probably a better overall athlete than Adams, so a more realistic comparison is David Garrard. While Garrard was much bigger than Adams (he weighted about 244 in the pros), he showcased a lot of similar traits. I would say Adams athletically falls in between the two. My overall point here is that I firmly believe Adams can be the leader of an offense, and make enough plays to sustain drives.
Ideal Landing Spot: Jets/Rams/Broncos/49ers
Am I cheating by naming four teams? Yes. Do I care? Absolutely not. With the futures of Colin Kaepernick, Robert Griffin, and Ryan Fitzpatrick currently up in the air, it’s hard to nail down exactly one team I would like to see Adams go to. Here is the most important thing: while I firmly believe Adams is a top-five quarterback in this draft class, most pundits do not, and he is projected to go in the sixth round or later come draft day. Whichever of these teams does not end up with one of the aforementioned signal-callers could be interested in adding another on the cheap in the draft, especially a team like the Rams, who have apparently not realized that their quarterbacks stink.
I could absolutely see Adams competing for a starting spot in year one with the likes of Geno Smith, Case Keenum, Mark Sanchez, or Blaine Gabbert, and think at least three of these teams offer outstanding offensive systems and weapons (the Rams can really just offer Todd Gurley). If I had to choose, I think the Jets would be the best spot for Adams, as the combination of elite wide receiver talent and brilliant offensive mind Chan Gailey could bring him some fantasy-worthy success.
Current 2QB Fantasy Rookie Draft Projection: 4th Round (Undrafted in 1QB Leagues)
You can think of Adams’ draft stock as being basically the anti-Cardale Jones stock. Jones will probably go high enough in the draft to be taken in the fourth of 2QB rookie drafts even though my belief is he is not good. Adams, on the other hand, will probably go very late in the draft, but is worth investing in. Personally I may go as high as a third round pick on Adams. I am that bullish.
The bottom line with Adams is that he has been successful at every level of football, and remarkably efficient. Be it the FCS level or the Pac-12, there has not been a defense that could successfully contain the mobile quarterback. His opportunity may not come right away due to a low draft position, but when it does, I expect him to be startable for fantasy, and to stick in the league for a long time.