Sports Outside the Beltway

NFL Draft 2007 – Round 1 #4 – Tampa Bay Buccaners – DE Gaines Adams

With the 4th overall pick in the draft, the Tampa Bay Buccaners selected Clemson defensive end Gaines Adams. Given that QB Brady Quinn and RB Adrian Peterson were still on the board, they apparently went for need rather than the proverbial “best available player.”

What the Experts Say: Profile:

Player Evaluation:A defender who takes over games, Adams has the physical skills to be an early draft pick and an immediate starter at the next level. His motor and toughness do not match his physical skills yet he offers All-Pro potential if he’s willing to pay the price.

Gaines Adams Photo STRENGTHS: Athleticism, Backside Pursuit, Pass Rushing Skills

AREAS FOR IMPROVEMENT: Intensity/Effort, Strength

Biography: Two-year starter awarded All-Conference honors since his junior campaign. All-American selection as a senior after posting 52/17.5/12.5 and breaking up six passes. Junior totals were 56/15/9.5, with 9.5 pass break-ups.

Pos: Game-impacting defender with tremendous upside. Breaks down well, is fast to the sidelines and creates a lot of havoc. Effectively uses his hands, rushes the edge with speed and has the ability to alter his angle of attack and pursue from the backside. Fluid moving in reverse, displaying a back-pedal when asked to play in space. Plays with tremendous pad level, balance and rarely is off his feet. Covers a lot of area, displaying speed in every direction.

Neg: Tends to turn it on and off. Gives half-hearted efforts to shed blocks and does not always chase the action. Accused of playing as though he did not want to get hurt early in his senior campaign.

The Arizona Cardinals are on the clock.


The Buccaneers would have loved to have drafted Johnson and reportedly considered taking Quinn here but at the end of the day Adams is the right pick. Defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin’s Cover-2 schemes need productive pass rushers up front to be truly effective and the front four needed a boost. Veteran Simeon Rice recorded just two sacks in the eight games in 2006 and Dewayne White, who recorded five sacks, is now with Detroit. Adams, who is the most explosive pass rusher in this class, should provide that much-needed shot of adrenaline. He has excellent first-step quickness and shows rare closing speed once he turns the corner. If he doesn’t get to the quarterback, he generally gets his hands up and times his jumps well.

The biggest concern with him is his ability to anchor against the run and teams should have some success running right at him but the scheme will help mask this weakness. Kiffin will generally ask Adams to use his burst to get into the backfield rather than asking him to stack the blocker up and then react to the play.

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