After the New York Jets drafted Jamal Adams with the 6th overall pick and Marcus Maye in the 2nd Round of the 2017 NFL Draft, Todd Bowles and Mike Maccagnan were heavily criticized for taking 2 players from the same position group for a team that supposedly had many other holes on their roster.
Those critics have been quickly silenced by the outstanding play of these two rookies as they perform with the poise and savvy of 10-year veterans and with the intensity and explosiveness of players determined to be great.
Through the first 9 games of the season, Adams has 43 tackles, 2 sacks, 0 interceptions, and 3 pass break-ups. Maye has recorded 45 tackles, 0 sacks, 2 interceptions, 2 pass break-ups, and 1 forced fumble for Gang Green.
Listed as a strong safety and a free safety, respectfully, Adams and Maye give defensive minded head coach Todd Bowles a lot of options on how to use them. As a former NFL safety Bowles is an invaluable asset to these two playmakers on and off the field.
Maye is used more as a ball hawk, roaming around the middle of the field making sure there are no plays over his head. His counterpart Adams plays down by the line of scrimmage more often than not, which allows him to blitz the quarterback and be more physical when stopping the run.
Adams and Maye are versatile and interchangeable and also bring an aggression and speed that a Jets defense has not seen in years. However, the contributions of Adams and Maye go further than their on-field play. They are two key pieces in the culture change that has taken place inside of the Jets locker room.
After the well documented toxic environment of the 2016 Jets locker room, Todd Bowles needed leaders to emerge to take this team forward. He needed to look no further than his first two 2017 draft picks. Adams has the personality to galvanize a room the minute he walks in and that is exactly what he did when he walked through those doors in Florham Park, NJ. Maye is more of a lead by example type of player. He will not give you the exciting soundbite or headline worthy quote, but he will let his play do all the talking on the field. Maye brings a laser sharp focus and intensity to the Jets secondary, one that struggled heavily in 2016.
Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye are two corner stones in the future of the Jets and with still a lot of room to improve, have the potential to be one of the best safety duos in the NFL within the coming years.