The Carolina Panthers drafted Arkansas Razorbacks wide receiver Joe Adams in the fourth round with the 104th overall selection. The pick was a very quiet pick that went off the board with little fanfare, but at the end of the season, Adams has a chance to walk away with the Rookie of the Year award. Up to date NFL Rookie of the Year Odds can be found at BetOnline.
Heading into the season, Andrew Luck of the Indianapolis Colts and Robert Griffin III of the Washington Redskins will get all of the attention, but they will have an uphill battle to win the prestigious award.
Luck is playing with an awful team that is in the middle of a rebuilding season and RG3 is on a Redskins team that always find a way to mess things up.
Adams biggest hurdle in winning the award is history. It has been over a decade since a player has won Rookie of the Year that was drafted outside of the top 100, when rookie running back Mike Anderson (selected 189th) won the award in 2000 as a member of the Denver Broncos. Adams will have a chance to repeat the feat as one of the newest members of the Panthers.
Adams is an experienced wide out that completed his senior season with 54 catches and 652 yards, finding the end zone three times. Those numbers are not staggering by any means, but in this offense, Adams could make an immediate and long lasting impact.
Adams will undoubtedly make the Panthers squad as the team is very thin at receiver. Legadu Naanee is no longer with the team after leaving for Miami and that leaves Steve Smith, Brandon LeFell, David Gettis and Seyi Ajirotutu to compete for the job. The Panthers usually keep a deep corps or receivers and Adams will fit in quite nicely.
Adams will benefit from the electrifying play of quarterback Cam Newton. Now in his second year under center, Newton will be able to utilize Adams as a slot receiver and draw attention away from All-Pro Steve Smith.
Smith will welcome a distraction as he demands double-teams on nearly every play. Smith will provide Adams with an excellent mentor that knows how to get the most out of his size and positioning. Adams is similar to Smith in stature and is a very smart player that will be willing to work and improve on his craft. Adams is flexible and can be utilized in many different ways on the offensive side of the ball.
Adams is explosive and can break the big play as evident in this play against Auburn. Adams Tears Up Auburn
In short Adams is a playmaker, and his biggest impact may be felt on special teams. Adams won the Johnny Rodgers Award last season, which is awarded to the top return man in college football. Armanti Edwards is a failed experiment as a return man and he averaged just over five yards per return a year ago. Adams is a perfect fit for this spot and early big returns will put his name on highlight reels on Sportscenter, especially if they are as good as the return he had against the Volunteers.