Vernon Adams Jr. had one of the most polarizing seasons in recent memory. It all started off with the drama of not knowing if Adams passed his math test or not leading to a delayed start with the Oregon Ducks. When healthy, Vernon was one of the best players on the field last year in the Pac-12 as he led the Oregon offense. When Adams played a majority of games, Oregon went 7-1 while the team went 2-3 when he failed to play in a majority of the game. Going from Eastern Washington and Big Sky football to the University of Oregon and Pac-12 football, Adams looks to make yet another jump by making it to the NFL. Not lacking of confidence, Adams certainly believes in himself ahead of Thursday's draft.
What really stood out from Adams combine results was the 40 time. Many people expected the quarterback to run a number that was much faster than near the 5 second mark. However, I don't necessarily think that the 40 speed is a major factor. Not much during his time at Oregon did we see Adams booking it down field, what we did see however was Adams elusiveness in the backfield from bigger defenders. A number to back this up is his 6.82 second three cone drill which placed him among top performers at the QB position. Another number to note is that Adams came in at 5' 11" at the combine, a number that I expected to be slightly shorter.
Did a great job producing at a high level in his only season as a Duck. Proved that he was capable of making the jump from lower level competition to a higher level with ease. Adams played with poise and confidence leading the offense and showed the ability to go through progressions to make the right throw.
Adams has a fantastic ability to extend plays in the pocket. His ability to extend plays meant that he was able to spread the ball around the field more. Check out the graph below for a passing chart of Adams' season at Oregon.
Height is certainly what seems to be holding Adams back at this point in the draft process. This height in turns leads to Adams often times not being able to see open receivers leading to missed throws or taking sacks. A few times last season Vernon tried to do a little too much and scrambled around when he needed to just ditch the ball.
Health could be an issue as well for the quarterback. Sure, the two times that he got knocked out of action this season could be seen as cheap shots, but regardless he missed quite a bit of action this season. Did it have anything to do with the jump up in talent level from Big Sky to Pac-12 or were they just cheap shots? What happens when Vernon gets knocked down by an NFL linebacker instead of a TCU defender.
People can't help but compare Adams to Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson. Wilson however has much more poise in the pocket and goes through his progression better than Adams does. The two are very similar in their ability to extend plays and scramble in the pocket. A lot of this has to do with their similar size where they need to scramble in the pocket to see around the bigger linemen to make the throw.
The read on Adams more recently has him going in the 7th round to undrafted. If he goes underrated, look for quite a few teams to be lining up to take a chance on Adams as the reward could be quite high. Of course a team to keep an eye on is the San Francisco 49ers, where there have been many ties since the East-West Shrine Game that link the former Oregon quarterback with the former Oregon head coach Chip Kelly.