The career trajectory for NFL players varies from athlete to athlete. Some step in from day one and make an impact, while others take some time to figure things out. The skill level of some players seem to decline as the league figures them out, while others are able to make the necessary adjustments to stay relevant.
But every now and again things just click for professional athletes. They can work their butt off for years, then suddenly the game slows down for them and a lifetime of training pays off. When knowledge and technique catches up with desire and athleticism, we see players go from being decent players, to being really good players.
Pro Football Focus recently looked at young players on the cusp of “elite status,” and they listed the Bears 25-year old safety, Adrian Amos.
The Chicago Bears took a trial-by-fire approach with fifth-round safety Adrian Amos early in his career, as the former Penn State product played north of 930 defensive snaps in each of his first two seasons in the NFL. The Bears’ early investment in Amos has seemingly paid off.
Cast into a starting role when veteran safety Quentin Demps broke his arm in Week 3, Amos earned a career-high 92.0 overall grade in 2017, ranking No. 1 among the league’s qualifying safeties. He ranked second in yards allowed per reception (7.1) and 15th in passer rating when targeted (81.8). He also flashed strong tackling ability on receptions, as he allowed just 3.50 yards after the catch per reception allowed, ranking fifth among safeties with at least 25 targets this past season.
Amos’ 2017 production should keep him from relying on injury to start in Chicago and as long as he can pick up where he left off ago, he’ll solidify his elite status.
Amos did just have the best season of his three year career, but is he really on the cusp of being one of the best defensive players in the game today?
I think the Bears would be happy if he just kept up the solid play and figured out a way to add a few more takeaways. Remember it was just a year ago that the Bears tried to replace Amos with free agent strong safety Quintin Demps. They also drafted free safety Eddie Jackson, and those two were the week one starters at safety.
Amos didn’t complain. He didn’t pout. All he did was continue to work on his craft until another opportunity arose to play meaningful snaps on defense. That opportunity came when Demps broke his arm week three, and Amos stepped in and played decent football. His pairing with Jackson seemed like a good match all season long, and the two will try and build off of that in 2018.
Will Amos be able to build himself all the way up to elite status?
With so much being focused on Chicago’s revamped offense this offseason, what if it’s Adrian Amos and the defense that carries this team to the next level?
What are your thoughts of PFF’s prediction?
(h/t to WCG member Johnathan Wood on the inspiration for this article!)