Davante Adams is probably the best receiver in all of football. He is a tremendous addition to the Las Vegas Raiders, and I got to have a conversation with Las Vegas coach Josh McDaniels about adding him to their offense.
What Makes Davante Adams so Good?
Adams is so consistent, on every single play. You know what you’re going to get with him. He’s big, strong, fast, quick and uses his hands very well at the line of scrimmage. The Vegas coaches talk about how he has a plan for every snap. He is as good as any receiver in the NFL at studying and analyzing his opponents.
Adams will break down the cornerback he is about to face. He knows their strengths, weaknesses, how to break down their press coverage and how to attack when they’re off him. He knows who they are in the red zone, whether they turn their backs and if they play a bail technique. Adams knows the moves he needs to set that corner up, whether he has to break inside or outside.
Adams Is a True Student of the Game
McDaniels said, of all the great players he’s been around, Adams may be the best listener. He is unbelievable in meetings, takes a bunch of notes and asks a bunch of questions, and studies the film. He wants to know why things are being done. Why they’re calling particular plays in these situations, and where he fits in the overall concept. What happens against two-deep coverage or if there’s a rotation his way, and what adjustments they need to make in that scenario.
He is such a great listener, and that goes a long way toward his success. Adams is a student of the game, and he is also willing to share that knowledge with the other receivers in that room in Las Vegas.
He Puts in the Work, Like the Great Ones
I’ve been around some great players, Hall of Famers like Cris Carter, Art Monk, Jerry Rice and Tim Brown. There’s one common theme with the great ones: They’re always the hardest-working and smartest players in that room.
When you discuss Adams, you talk to the coaches about how he’s out 30 minutes before practice, and how he stays late on the JUGS machine or works with the defensive backs and second-and third-string quarterbacks. He leaves no stone unturned, working every practice, taking every rep, doing the extra work. Adams is going to be an excellent addition to the Las Vegas Raiders.
Editor’s note: Rod Woodson, who played 17 years in the NFL at cornerback and safety for four different teams before entering the Hall of Fame, loves watching today’s young players patrolling defensive backfields like he once did. He’s particularly excited about watching these five secondaries perform in 2022:
The Bills have Jordan Poyer, Micah Hyde, Dane Jackson and Taron Johnson, but most importantly, they have a healthy Tre’Davious White. If White can come back and play as well as he has in prior years, it will help the Bills’ secondary have an awesome season.
New Orleans Saints
The Saints added one of my favorite guys in the NFL in Tyrann Mathieu, who is just such a playmaker. Along with Marshon Lattimore, C.J. Gardner-Johnson and Marcus Maye, that is a really good secondary, and I’m excited to see Mathieu play with those guys.
Green Bay Packers
I’m really excited to watch the Packers, specifically for one player: Jaire Alexander. I think he’s one of the best playmakers in the league. Then you have Eric Stokes and Darnell Savage, who are both solid players. They also have Adrian Amos, who they brought over from the Bears a few years ago and is a wonderful safety.
I think Alexander is one of those rare players that just doesn’t come around in the draft all that often.
I’m excited to see these guys play because they were all hurt last year. I get to see Marcus Peters and Marlon Humphrey back. They added Marcus Williams from the Saints, who I think is one of the best pure free safeties in the NFL, and then Kyle Fuller comes in as their nickel.
Plus, they added in Kyle Hamilton in the first round this year. This is a solid, stacked secondary.
Las Vegas Raiders
I might get called a homer, but the Raiders have some players I really, really like in Trayvon Mullen and Johnathan Abram, who is getting better every year. I thought Tre’von Moehrig was one of the best safeties in last year’s draft and now he’s in his second year. He’ll know so much more now and will be much more valuable to the team this season.
Rock Ya-Sin is a really solid player as well. When they go into nickel, they bring in Nate Hobbs. They have a solid, fundamental group of guys, and I’m excited to see how new defensive coordinator Patrick Graham uses all of them.
I think the AFC West is going to play out similarly to how it did last year. You’ve got to still love the Kansas City Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes.
The Chiefs Still Have Top-Tier Weapons
The Chiefs have one of the best tight ends in Travis Kelce. Their best defensive lineman, and probably their best player on the defense as a whole, Chris Jones, is coming back. They brought in Marquez Valdes-Scantling from the Green Bay Packers, and they brought JuJu Smith-Schuster from the Pittsburgh Steelers to replace Tyreek Hill.
The receiving group is going to be good enough, and Mahomes is a difference-maker. He’s a guy that can still make plays down the field. He won’t have Hill’s speed, but he’s still got Mecole Hardman, and Hardman can run, so I think they are going to win the AFC West.
The Raiders are Close Behind
The Las Vegas Raiders with Derek Carr and his new, improved receiving group with Davante Adams are going to make them better this season. You have Adams, Hunter Renfrow and arguably one of the other best tight ends in the league in Darren Waller. They also have a solid running game with Josh Jacobs, so I think Carr is going to be very happy.
I’m pretty sure I saw a smile on Carr’s face every time I saw him this summer, so I would think they are going to be the No. 2 seed in the AFC West.
The Chargers’ Fate Rests With Their QB
Justin Herbert is a great quarterback. He’s just so natural and a lot of the things he does inside and outside of the pocket you just can’t teach. It just comes with him. Herbert’s got some big receivers in Mike Williams and Keenan Allen, who I think is the best route runner in the NFL. I know he’s an older player, but he’s still got the same skill set.
Then, they got Khalil Mack, who was with the Raiders and Bears, so if he and Joey Bosa can get it together and put a pass rush on the opposing quarterbacks, then Derwin James, who is healthy this year, can get a lot of interceptions.
Denver Could Miss the Playoffs
I think the team that brings up the end of the AFC West is going to be the Denver Broncos. I know we made a big deal about them getting Russell Wilson, and we should’ve. Wilson is a generational player, who can make you a better football team. They have receivers, too. They have Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy. They’ve got players, and they have a solid defense.
I just think they are playing in a stacked division that is going to put them in fourth place. I don’t think they are going to make the playoffs this year. Hopefully, in a couple of years, the Broncos fans can be happy.