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Scouting Report: Colts Linebacker Tyrell Adams

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NFL: New York Jets at Oakland Raiders Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports


Height: 6’2” | Weight: 230 lbs | Age: 26 | Experience: 3 Years | 40 Yard Dash: 4.65
10 Yard Split: 1.54 | Bench Reps: 8 | Vertical Jump: 33 | Broad Jump: 114
20 Yard Shuttle: 4.38 | 3-Cone Drill: 7.00

College: West Georgia

Professional Transactions:

Signed by the Colts as a free agent on February 23, 2018.
Waived by the Buffalo Bills on October 19, 2017.
Claimed off waivers by the Bills on October 18, 2017.
Waived by the Oakland Raiders on October 16, 2017.
Signed to the Raiders active roster from the practice squad on November 26, 2016.
Signed to Oakland’s practice squad on October 5, 2016.
Waived from the Kansas City Chiefs practice squad on September 6, 2016.
Signed to Kansas City’s practice squad on September 5, 2016.
Waived by the Chiefs on September 3, 2016.
Signed by Kansas City as a free agent on January 18, 2016.
Signed to the Chiefs practice squad on November 3, 2015.
Waived from the Seattle Seahawks practice squad on October 29, 2015.
Signed to the Seahawks practice squad on October 15, 2015.
Waived from Kansas City’s practice squad on October 13, 2015.
Signed to the Chiefs practice squad on September 14, 2015.
Waived by Seattle on September 5, 2015.
Signed by the Seahawks as an undrafted free agent on May 12, 2015.

Contract Terms: 1-Year, $630,000 with $0 guranteed.

NFL Career Stats:

12 Games | 0 Starts | 15 TKL | 3 ST TKL


As his NFL transactions indicate, Tyrell Adams has bounced around in his short career. After going undrafted in 2015, Adams worked his way from battling to get a spot on a practice squad to getting first team opportunities at training camp with the Raiders and in spring training activities with the Colts.

In 3 seasons, Adams has only tallied 15 defensive tackles, adding 3 more on special teams. While that is certainly not the kind of production that would lead anyone to think that he is likely to earn a starting role for the Colts, there is something important to note about his time in the NFL. He was signed by the Seattle Seahawks twice in his rookie season. Assistant General Manager Ed Dodds, formerly with Seattle, is most certainly familiar with his play. Additionally, General Manager Chris Ballard had the opportunity to see him play numerous times in 2015 and 2016. This familiarity could give him a fighting change to take the next step in his career.

Speaking of steps, every year Adams has taken a new one. As a rookie he couldn’t stick on a roster. In his second season, he earned special teams snaps but nothing more. Last year, he earned defensive snaps over a six week period with the Raiders and spent a lot of time starting during the off-season program. For a second straight off-season, he is earning meaningful time with an NFL first team defense.

Part of the reason Adams is on the roster is his athleticism. He fits more in the mold of a modern NFL linebacker who lacks prototypical size for a run defender but makes up for it with speed. He also realizes that he has to make pass coverage a part of his game if he hopes to breakthrough. In an article by Paul Gutierrez of ESPN on August 20, 2017, Adams mentions the evolution of the NFL at the linebacker position.

At 6-foot-2, 228 pounds, Adams is not the prototypical thumper at MLB. He tries to make up for it with his speed, which is also different for a middle linebacker.

“It’s a different game now, so you’ve got to be able to do both,” Adams said, “play both the run and those pass slots.”

Just one day before the Gutierrez piece, Justin Smith of discussed Adams’ performance against the Dallas Cowboys. Smith wrote:

“Adams was burned in coverage by Witten multiple times, but his run fits and instincts were on the ball. For a team that routinely shoves the ball down their opponents throats, the Cowboys didn’t find a lot of easy running room against the Raiders first-team defense.”

Smith goes on to discuss that it is difficult it is to gauge Adams or other linebackers coverage ability against a player as talented as Jason Witten, and admits that all linebackers on the field had a turn at getting abused by the multi-year Pro Bowler. Still, given the observation about how well Adams played against the run, it is no surprise that he is getting his chance at the Sam linebacker position.


Finding meaningful film on a player who has had such a limited opportunity to get onto the football field is challenging. Still, we will take a look at some of the technique that Adams uses to stay clean in traffic and see him showcase some of his sideline-to-sideline speed that likely earned him another opportunity in Indianapolis.

Adams uses his eyes and his hands on to not just stay alive on this play but to help make the stop. He was in a good position, read the play well, and kept clean.

Once again Adams has the vision to recognize the play development early and to chase the play down to the outside. He not only makes the stop and keeps the quarterback from getting to the sideline or around the corner, he also gets his hand on the ball to force a fumble that goes out of bounds.

Tyrell Adams has faced an uphill battle to carve out an NFL career ever since he went undrafted out of West Georgia in 2015. He has remained focused and managed to increase his role in the NFL every season. The odds that Adams make the team are probably about as good as the odds that he won’t. However, he is entering his second straight off-season getting repetitions with first team units on defense.

Adams might not receive a better opportunity to make a name for himself in his career than he will as a part of a Colts linebacker corps that is undermanned and going through a major transition. If he can continue to show chops against the run, as he did with the Raiders and Seahawks, he could win the battle for the starting Sam linebacker position.