Vernon Adams NFL Draft Stock Booms After Shrine Game, But is he for Real?By Russell Westerholm
Vernon Adams may be entering the NFL Draft at the most opportune moment given the kind of quarterback prospect he is.
What he lacks in height, he makes up for in arm strength, athleticism, and creativity, which sounds a lot like Russell Wilson. And now, with his Shrine Game performance, NFL evaluators are starting to take that comparison seriously.
"He can play in the NFL. Somebody's going to give him an opportunity to do that. Now whether he makes it or not, it's up to him. He has all those things that the great ones have. He gets better as the game goes on," June Jones, a coach for the Shrine Game's West, told NFL Media.
Adams threw for 191 yards and three touchdowns despite limited playing time, The Associated Press reported. More importantly, he showed all his strengths: sensing pressure, extending the play, and throwing downfield.
But the substance to Adams' draft stock may be more substantial than one impressive game. After playing three seasons at the FCS level, Adams was a graduate transfer addition for Oregon who was not even guaranteed to win the starting position.
When he did, it was clear why. In a season partially shortened by a finger injury, Adams threw for 2,643 yards with a 65 percent completion rate, 26 touchdowns and six interceptions. He also led Oregon to wins over USC and Cal, outplaying a more highly touted QB prospect in each game.
In its draft assessment of Adams, CBS Sports notes he needs to be more consistent with his throwing accuracy. He had multiple games at Oregon in which his completion rate was below 60 percent.
Regardless, he is already being connected to the San Francisco 49ers, who just hired Chip Kelly as their head coach. Adams certainly has experience running Kelly's type of offense, and he will likely be included in the team's draft prep. However, there is no substantial reporting to suggest the 49ers are considering drafting him.