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2017 NFL Draft Profile: WR/KR Rodney Adams

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He has breakaway speed and excellent return skills. Is that enough to land the former USF receiver on an NFL roster while he adjusts to the demands of a pro wideout?

NCAA Football: South Florida at Cincinnati Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Like most of the college blogs on the network, we’re writing draft profiles for our players who may have their names called during the NFL Draft.


It was odd that a player of Rodney Adams’ caliber ended up at Toledo. It was even odder that they didn’t use him. He transferred to USF because he had lost his mother in a car accident and wanted to come back home, but it was also an opportunity to start his college career over again after only catching two passes as a freshman.

Adams was underused in his first season in Tampa, but for a different reason. The entire offense was struggling, and with USF’s career receiving leader Andre Davis getting most of the attention (along with the Bulls’ quarterbacks struggling to complete half their passes) there wasn’t a lot for Adams to do. However, when Davis missed four games with an ankle injury, Adams did something with his opportunity. He finished his sophomore year with 23 catches for 323 yards and scored twice.

It was more slow going for Rodney to begin his junior year, but when USF’s offense suddenly began clicking, so did Adams. He became a deep threat for Quinton Flowers and he received a steady diet of screens and jet sweeps to make things happen in the open field. Adams caught 45 passes and set school records with 822 receiving yards and nine touchdowns through the air. Adams also became USF’s primary kick returner in 2015, finishing 6th in FBS with a 29.1 yard average. Against Navy, he returned the opening kickoff 97 yards for USF’s first kickoff return touchdown since 2010.

Even with defenses knowing how USF would get him the ball, Adams had another big year in 2016. He again went for 822 receiving yards and set another school record with 67 receptions. Adams also had the longest reception and longest run of USF’s season - an 84-yard catch to start the game against Florida State, and a school-record 92-yard run against Memphis where Rodney put the “jet” in jet sweep. He was out the gate by the time he crossed his own 30.

Strengths: Near world-class speed - he was clocked at 4.44 running the 40 at the Scouting Combine. Fast enough to run past most defenders. Effective as an outside and slot receiver at USF. Elusive in space. Very good return man. Underrated at locating the ball in the air and making a play.

Weaknesses: Not to say he couldn’t do it, but Adams didn’t have to run anything close to a full route tree because of how USF threw the ball the last two years. Doesn’t have much bulk and isn’t the kind to lower his shoulder to try and break a tackle or pick up more yardage. Even though he started his last 26 games for the Bulls, not super durable.

NFL Comparison: This is a tough one. Adams has speed for days but it’s hard to project how he’ll do as an NFL wideout, just because he wasn’t asked to perform like a typical wide receiver in college. Maybe you could compare him to someone like Julian Edelman or Denard Robinson, who were both speedy college quarterbacks and ended up switching positions in the NFL.

Projected Draft Pick: If Adams goes in the draft, it will be in the last couple of rounds. He can likely stick as a kick returner in the NFL, but he might be a bit of a project as a receiver, and he’ll need a team willing to let him learn that job while he contributes on special teams.

Tell you what, though... if Adams can’t stay in the NFL, I bet he would absolutely own in the CFL. Let him run forward before the snap? Mandatory one-yard neutral zone so he can’t be jammed at the line of scrimmage? Wide fields to outrun defenders to the edge? Good luck with all that, you hosers.