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Redskins Draft Countdown: Penn State safety Adrian Amos

Mar 31, 2015, 2:00 PM EDT


The NFL Draft is just over four weeks away and I’ll continue researching the prospects throughout the lead-up to the draft. Along the way I’ll be sharing some of what I find out with Real Redskins readers. The focus will be on players in areas of need for the Redskins but I might look at players at just about any position since Scot McCloughan has said that he will take the best player available regardless of need.

Adrian Amos
Penn State


What they’re saying:

Strengths: Well-built with good height, length and overall frame for the position, displaying adequate bulk and strength. Takes aggressive angles and explodes downhill while also showing the start/stop quickness to recover and alter his path mid-momentum. Very smooth in coverage and plays the football extremely well.

Weaknesses: Sound and quality player, but doesn’t make many big plays. Misses some open-field tackles. Does not wrap up when tackling and usually leads with a shoulder. May be too slow to be a full-time starter on the corner. Not real smooth and will lose a little in transition. Will have to learn to come up faster and wrap up better at the next level.

Dane Brugler and Bo Marchionte, CBS Sports

How he fits the Redskins: The Redskins are still trying to solve the free safety position and they likely are looking for two. One might be a veteran free agent who could start immediately and another may come in the draft, a player with potential who will be groomed to take the job in 2016 or 2017.

Amos is a mid- to late-round prospect who fits what the team may be looking for as the longer-term answer in a number of ways. He is aggressive and has solid coverage skills. When he came to Penn State he played some cornerback and could possibly fill in during an emergency but it appears that his NFL future will be playing deep.

At his pro day he improved his 40 times from 4.56 at the combine to 4.37. That’s better but Scot McCloughan and the smarter GMs around the league will look at his speed on game tape and take only a passing glance at timed events.

Potential issues: Amos “shrunk” a bit between his playing days at Penn State and the combine. The Nittany Lions listed him at 6-1 but when he was measured in Indianapolis he came in at a shade over six feet. Even at 6-1 he was on the small side for what is likely to be McCloughan’s preferred size range. Being smaller doesn’t wipe him off of the Redskins’ draft board but they will need to see someone who plays like a bigger safety even though he may be a bit shy when you put the tape measure to him.

His weight (218) puts him in the 89th percentile among free safeties at the combine per so that can help make up for his lack of great height. At 32 ¼ inches Amos’ reach is longer than the majority of players at his position so that can help him play bigger as well.

Bottom line: Amos would be a project, as would almost any player picked up on Saturday during the draft. He gets credit for having high football intelligence and he has reputation for being a hard worker. At Penn State Amos started 38 games so he has a good deal of big-time experience. All in all, he is the kind of player who is a good bet to succeed.

But he’s no sure thing to be the long-term answer and if the Redskins do take a chance with Amos they could end up being in search of their free safety for both the present and the future again in a couple of years.

In his own words:

Amos on his pro day at Penn State earlier this month:

I think I showed them that I can play cornerback, and they can see that on the film.

With the 40-yard dash, it was a better situation being back at Penn State. I’ve been working on that. I had a good idea I would do that because this is what I normally run. I was disappointed a little bit by my 40-yard dash at the combine. I knew I could run better.

The bench press, when I got to 21 reps, I was pleased with what I did.

I watched film with the Philadelphia Eagles. I talked with them afterward and a lot of teams who had me at 4.37, 4.38, 4.39. That included the Houston Texans. The Eagles and Ravens’ secondary coaches were there.

The teams said I moved pretty good in the drills. I weighed in at 215. I didn’t jump again, but I probably could have got better numbers than the combine.

Previously in Draft Countdown:

  1. kenlinkins - Mar 31, 2015 at 2:58 PM

    This kid has jumped up on many draft Big Boards but I just do not see the power in him to be higher than a 6th round pick. If the Redskins use a true FS instead of the SS/FS combo position we have seen the past 4 years then he could grade out a little better as IMO his position is FS / Special Teams. My concern is the way he tackles, many NFL RB’s will just bounce right off him if he can not learn to hit full force and drive thru people instead of just throwing a shoulder at them. Maybe a year of Kick off and Punt coverage will teach him how to attack at full speed.

    • renhoekk2 - Mar 31, 2015 at 5:11 PM

      He will be gone by the 4th round. He’s a safety that can cover like a 3rd CB. If you read any scouting report on college DB’s 90% of them say “needs to improve tackling”. Either they take bad angles, they don’t rap up, or they stand around the pile and let their teammates do the dirty work.

  2. Skulb - Mar 31, 2015 at 8:47 PM

    OK it is time to officially out myself here: As a foreigner I have absolutely no idea how the US draft system works. The more I look the more it sounds like a bunch of one eyed green aliens fresh off the mothership making apparently random bleeping noises. Where I have landed is that it represents some weird form of sports communism I am slightly surprised to find in the US national pastime.
    If someone could explain the proceedings in simple terms to me I would be very interested. Keep in mind that I am used to European soccer and the clubs with the most money buying up all the good players. Anything else will probably seem counter intuitive to me so be patient.

    • ajbus1 - Mar 31, 2015 at 9:37 PM

      It’s all about having a fair system for teams to supplement their rosters with college players. The worse your record the previous year, the higher you pick. This way in the “worst” teams have a chance to pick up the best players. There are 7 rounds to the draft, over the course of three days, in which teams continue to pick in order form worst to best, again according to how they finished the year before.

      College is where the best young players play, unlike soccer where there are many leagues and levels around the world from which to scout and find talent. Because of the worldwide scale of soccer, it would be impossible to have any sort of a draft. Football may be the same someday if it becomes more of a global sport.

      Assuming you weren’t kidding, I hope this helps. HTTR!

      • Skulb - Apr 1, 2015 at 5:17 AM

        Yes thank you very much. Is this the same reason why there are salary caps? I think what confuses Europeans like me a bit is the notion of fairness being enforced like this. If you suggested this in Real Madrid they would laugh you out the door I would think. That`s what I meant by sports communism. It is just not what you`d expect to find in America. It seems to reward being bad and punish being good the previous year in a rather odd way.
        Oh well, at least the Redskins stunk to high Heaven last year so they`ll be amply rewarded this year:)

        Americans are just the weirdest people…

        • ajbus1 - Apr 1, 2015 at 1:05 PM

          I’ll add an analogy in favor of parity. Is it more fun to be a fan of Real Madrid or a team like Celta de Vigo? After awhile doesn’t it get frustrating and even boring when you know Real Madrid and Barcelona are gonna be the best teams every year?

        • Skulb - Apr 1, 2015 at 1:22 PM

          I`m not Spanish and just picked Real Madrid because it`s the biggest club in Europe so people will have heard of it over there. But yes I imagine it is more fun to be a fan of a second best team like Celta or Atletico when they finally manage to win something than it is to be a Madrid or Barcelona supporter and just be disappointed if your team doesn`t cruise to the championship every year.
          Don`t get me wrong. I do get the point of the fairness stuff in the NFL and it seems like a very good idea. I just wasn`t sure precisely how it worked until you cleared that up for me. It`s just a bit…odd for a European to see it working this way. And particularly in the bastion of free market capitalism right. But like you said: until gridiron becomes more of a world sport this is the way it perhaps has to work.
          And it does make it more exciting. I`ll give it that. Watching a Manchester United vs Millwall game isn`t exactly the same. You know who`s gonna win in Europe much of the time and the only question is by how much.

          On a total side note now that I have derailed us with soccer, how does this stuff work in the MLS? That has both access to some domestic college talent and the international pool of recruits I would assume. Does this cause any problems for the US recruitment and parity structure do you think?

        • bangkokben - Apr 2, 2015 at 3:10 PM


          Pete Rozelle was the NFL’s commission from 1960-1989. He was largely responsible for making the NFL what it is today. From wikipedia:

          “When he took office there were twelve teams in the NFL playing a twelve-game schedule to frequently half-empty stadiums, and only a few teams had television contracts. The NFL in 1960 was following a business model that had evolved from the 1930s. One of Rozelle’s early accomplishments was helping the league adopt profit-sharing of gate and television revenues. The revenue-sharing was a major factor in stabilizing the NFL and guaranteeing the success of its small-market teams.”

          He believed that parity was vital for the success of the league. This has to some extent become the new model for American sports leagues. So, MLS being only in it’s 20s is a bit of odd duck. It is open to much more talent yet still has a super draft. Even though we Americans are generally anti-socialist we are also very much in favor of playing on a level playing field. Personal rights are almost sacred. So the primary reasons MLS leans toward parity is both cultural as well as in order to keep it afloat. It is a different animal – it has playoffs and no relegation or promotion. It’s much like RC cola – you kind of have to acquire a taste. Personally, if I want a cola, I’ll drink a Coke and sometimes a Pepsi and If I want to watch soccer, I’ll watch the EPL or sometimes “La Liga.”

        • Skulb - Apr 2, 2015 at 9:16 PM


          Some interesting history there. I had actually heard about the merger between the NFL and the AFL and that it`s why there are two conferences. And it makes good sense with the parity. Reading through some of Rich`s posts I sort of think the terminology is what makes it seem more complicated to me than it actually is. I`ve just been watching NFL for three seasons though so still learning some of that.
          You probably couldn`t implement the same system in European soccer though. The old structure is so ingrained here it would be like ridding the world of weeds. There are some advantages to the massive European league structure too of course. Every single town in Europe, and I don`t care how small, has a soccer team of some sort. And local kids can play unsupervised, join teams and get some training or they can really go for it and try to get picked up by the local team and move on from there. No college degrees necessary, which makes it a somewhat more grassroots thing than football is in America. The US system seems to be a pyramid with the NFL at the top while the European one is more like a giant block with a small pyramid on top of it.

          Btw soccer had a few of the same problems with attendance in the late 1980s because defensive organization and tactics became so good that there were hardly any goals being scored. And since a draw was seen as a valuable result, because a win just scored two points, many teams were playing for draws all the time. I once saw a 90 minute soccer match with zero shots on goal during this period when both teams decided to play for a draw. You could have sold that game as a cure for insomnia. So crowds stayed home and even the large leagues were struggling. Many things were then done by FIFA to fix this problem starting in the early 90s, including rewarding a win three points, changing the design of the ball so it was lighter and would move faster when you kicked it, yellow cards for time wasting and the ban on kicking the ball back for the goal keeper to pick up.

    • ajbus1 - Apr 2, 2015 at 12:26 PM

      Hey good discussion here. I’m actually not sure how MLS works. I actually follow european soccer more closely. I believe there is a draft though. I think rentals are allowed also but I don’t know if there’s a salary cap or restrictions on spending. I’ll have to check into that.

  3. George Bournelis - Mar 31, 2015 at 8:49 PM

    How bout Murphy @ inside linebacker? we know he plays the run very well

  4. George Bournelis - Mar 31, 2015 at 8:56 PM

    Would love to see leribeus get a shot at center, a lot bigger and stronger, at the very least he could take over next year Archives

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