The 40-yard dash is often an over-rated measuring stick, but a blazing time often catches people’s attention. On Wednesday, LSU safety Jamal Adams certainly popped. After running a fairly solid 4.56 40 at the 2017 NFL Combine, Adams ran at his Pro Day and it is being reported as anywhere from 4.33 to 4.41.
The Pro Day offers a player a bit of a home-field advantage over the neutral turf of the NFL Combine. And yet, that is still a ridiculous improvement. I don’t know if Adams did more drills to prepare, or if he benefited from friendly clocks, or what, but it is impressive improvement.
Adams and Malik Hooker are expected to be the two safeties first off the board later this month at the 2017 NFL Draft. Adams seems like more of a downhill guy who will do big work closer to the line of scrimmage. Hooker seems like the better centerfield option. The big difference between the two is starting experience. Adams has two years of starting experience, and played in all 13 games with two starts as a true freshman. Hooker played in all 13 games as a redshirt freshman, and then started 13 games as a redshirt sophomore.
There is always talk about whether or not a certain position should be drafted particularly high. Safety is one where players have traditionally gone a little later in the first round. In the case of Adams and Hooker, it seems like saying, “this is how we have always done it,” is kind of a weak statement. They’re both talented safeties. Opinions differ on who should go higher, but there are strong arguments to be made that both deserve the No. 2 spot if the 49ers decide to go safety.