The Detroit Lions had a decent-sized undrafted free agency class in 2021, but one of their signings might stand out above the rest for his ability to make the tough catch.
For those who knew his game, it was a shock to see Jonathan Adams Jr. not get drafted at all. The wideout is big-bodied and managed to turn in his fair share of huge plays on the field. Quite possibly the biggest never showed up on the stat sheet, but was no less impressive on video.
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In a game against Kansas State, Johnson went up and nearly made an improbable one-handed snag of a pass. At the end of the play, he simply couldn’t control the ball long enough to get the score while falling out of bounds. Even such, the play only served to prove the kind of catch he could make on the field.
Here’s a look:
Lions UDFA WR Jonathan Adams had one of the best incompletions of the 2020 college football season. (And then he caught a TD pass on the next play.) pic.twitter.com/www6rOQ9p6
— Chris Burke (@ChrisBurkeNFL) May 3, 2021
While the play ended up as an incompletion, Johnson would score one play later, and have the Odell Beckham-style highlight on his reel forever.
It isn’t a stretch to say this was the best incompletion of the 2020 college football season, and something Lions fans should love to see given their need for big plays out of their receiver group. It wouldn’t be a shock to see him develop into a red-zone beast with plays such as this.
Lions Wideout Situation Advantage for Rookies
Why does Adams stand a chance to make the Lions? The team hasn’t done much heavy-lifting this offseason at the wideout spot. After losing the likes of Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones and Danny Amendola, the Lions signed veterans Breshad Perriman, Damion Ratley, Tyrell Williams and Kalif Raymond.The Lions also didn’t elect to make the spot a huge priority early in the draft as many assumed they would, nabbing Amon-Ra St. Brown in the fourth-round. As a result, the chance exists for a few undrafted free agents to perhaps make a case at sticking on the roster. Adams is one, while Sage Surratt and Javon McKinley are a few other players who will be in competition for such a role with the team.
The emergence of such a player would be a big break for Detroit’s goal of re-shaping their wideout group.
Adams Jr.’s Stats and Highlights
Watching the tape, it’s tough to imagine how Adams went undrafted at all and wasn’t scooped up in the fifth or sixth round or sooner. He’s got the size NFL teams covet at wideout and has big play potential every time he goes up for the ball. Watching tape against Kansas State will many anyone a believer he can play at the NFL level, given three touchdowns in the game in what became a decent-sized upset in 2020. In college, Adams had 2,396 yards and 21 touchdowns in college, numbers that compare favorably to other wideouts who were drafted.
Adams is physical and has great hands, something the NFL puts a premium on. It will be downright fascinating to see what he can do when given a look. He’s also a big body for the red zone and the kind of player who is capable of making the highlight-reel play.