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NFL breakout players 2018: Can the Giants unlock Jerell Adams’ untapped potential?

Adams should easily top his stats from the last two years. The question in New York is just how far beyond that he can go.

Cincinnati Bengals v New York Giants Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

The Giants drafted tight end Jerell Adams in the sixth round of the 2016 draft, and as a rookie he got off to a good start with 16 receptions for 122 yards and one touchdown in 13 games, two of which he started. Last season, Adams turned around and only started once in 16 games and hauled in just eight passes for 92 yards and no touchdowns.

I’m sure that’s not exactly the encore he was hoping for.

This season, however, he has a chance to bounce back and it’s all going to come down to opportunities. At 6’5 and 247 pounds, he’s tall, lean and fast. Coming out of college the kid ran a 4.64, and watching his film, he doesn’t seem to have slowed down at all.

When he was given the opportunity to do so, Adams also showed he can catch the ball pretty well. He did have a dropped touchdown and maybe another drop in the Week 17 game against Washington last season, but he caught everything else that was thrown to him all year. The week prior to that Washington game he actually had four catches in a loss to the Cardinals which ended up being his only multi-catch game all season. I don’t know what was up against Washington, but Adams’ hands were consistently good, otherwise.

The reason why his production hasn’t reflected his skills so far in his career is because Adams just hasn’t gotten much burn his first two seasons. He does still need to polish with his route running a bit and he isn’t exactly a dominating blocker, but the truth is he won’t get much better at those things riding the bench on Sundays, either. It is obvious Adams has a ton of potential, so it would behoove the Giants to see if they can really tap into it at some point.

Adams could give the Giants another legit weapon in the passing game if he polishes up his technique.

I know the Giants already have a young baller in Evan Engram, who they drafted in the first round last spring, but if Adams comes on this season, he could provide New York with a very potent one/two punch out of two tight end sets.

I take it as a good sign that new head coach Pat Shurmur sees Adams’ potential after the Giants cut tight end Kyle Carter, picked up off waivers from Shurmur’s former team, the Vikings, to make room to sign veteran pass rusher Connor Barwin. It could easily have been Adams who got the ax, but instead he’s still in camp battling for playing time. He is still going to have to beat out Rhett Ellison to be Engram’s primary backup, but at least Adams still has a shot to do so.

It will be interesting to see how he develops this year under Shurmur and new offensive coordinator Mike Shula because I think he has a ton of untapped potential. It won’t take much to best his career highs from his first two seasons, but I believe Adams has a chance to do a lot more than that this year.

If he gets the targets in the passing game, I expect folks won’t care as much about his average-at-best blocking, and his production should make a dramatic jump this year.

Confidence level: Low