by J.T. Toth
Photo courtesy of Illinois Athletics.
At Draft 412, the NFL draft talk never ends. We will keep you ready for the next set of gridiron stars—from today and all the way until draft night 2024. We will bring you mock drafts, player profiles, individual team needs, and everything else you may need related to the 2024 NFL Draft.
Today’s Spotlight - Illinois, Tackle, Isaiah Adams
Name- Isaiah Adams
HT/WT- 6’5” 320 lbs.
Home – Ajax, Ontario
Adams played football, basketball and rugby at Durham High School in Ontario. He was the team’s offensive lineman of the year 3 years in a row. He later played football for Wilfrid Laurier University in Warloo, Ontario, Canada.
He transferred after one season to Garden City, a junior college in Kansas and after one successful season, he was listed as the #5 junior tackle in the country. He selected Illinois over offers from Arizona, Syracuse and West Virginia amongst others.
Last season, he started 12 games at left guard and 1 game at left tackle, and played consistently well all. At the end of the year, Adams was selected as an All-Big 10 third team selection.
Coming into this campaign, Adams was named a pre-season All-Big Ten 2nd team selection by Phil Steele. He has started 10 games at right tackle and 2 at right guard for the Illini and was selected to be on the Outland Trophy watch list after his stellar season in 2022.
Adams is a brawler who loves to work in tight quarters where he can use his upper body strength and hands to win one-on-one battles. He is athletic enough to land quality blocks at the second level and has sufficient football IQ to understand blitzes and stunts. He has a habit of taking the right blocking angles and putting himself in the best position. He has a mean demeanor in the run game and never stops looking for bodies to hit through the whistle. He has a strong base and shows good leverage when he comes off the snaps. In pass protection, he does a good job of landing an initial contact to the defensive player's chest, helping to stun or control them while using his length to his advantage as an interior offensive lineman.
On the downside, he struggles as a pass blocker and does not have the efficient footwork to keep speed rushers from coming off the edge. He doesn’t look comfortable in his pass protection set up nor his mechanics going from his 3-point stance to his backpedal. He has strength issues when he is moving in space and tends to lean and lunge at defenders instead of hitting them squarely. Though he is listed as a tackle, Draft 412 thinks his future may be on the interior, where he does his best work as a grappler.
Jon Feliciano, a 4th round pick out of Miami, FL in the 2015 draft, played more guard than tackle at the college level. His game looks a lot like Adams' game, with the way they excel at run blocking and working in a phone booth. Like Feliciano, there is a good chance that Adams gets moved to guard full time at the NFL level and he has the skill and upside to play a long time.
Pass blocking on outside
Strength in space
Isaiah Adams is a player who will go into the combine listed as a tackle, but Draft 412 believes he will be selected as a depth piece that will eventually be a dependable guard in the NFL. Adams will be a quality pick late in the draft for a team looking for bodies on their offensive line to fill in for injuries.
Draft 412 Draft Projection - Round 6 to Round 7