Of all the rookies that should be on the Carolina Panthers opening day roster, Joe Adams might be the most likely to surprise. Adams has a whole lot of things working in his favor. As a huge Carolina Panthers football fan, I recognize that this guy seems custom made for our team. Not only will he boost our special teams, but he will also be much more than that on offense. This is not based purely on my own fan excitement, however. These predictions are based on a solid set of circumstances.
He has NFL ready speed
Not many rookies come in and have that top end speed that Adams possesses. Adams can blow away virtually any defensive player on a given play and his speed and elusiveness as the best punt returner in college football will translate with no worries. Adams has speed to burn and will be able to use that to help himself get adjusted to life in the NFL. It does not happen often, but Adams is ready where speed is concerned.
He is a punt returner
If Adams was coming in purely as a wide receiver I would have my concerns for his immediate success. The fact that the Panthers desperately need a punt returner helps Adams out as well. With his status as a top shelf returner, Adams is virtually assured of a chance to succeed in this vital area.
He is playing with Steve Smith
What better small receiver in the NFL could Adams learn from? Few guys in the NFL have more in common with Joe Adams than Steve Smith. He is smaller, he has awesome speed and he will likely be coming in as a punt returner at first. That sounds just like Smitty when he came into the league. Smith can teach Adams how to stretch the field and play that slot position perfectly.
He has Cam Newton as his quarterback
Cam Newton has a way of making everyone around him better. He puts pressure on any defense and loosens up the coverage for his guys down the field. With Adams being a vertical threat, Newton will be able to utilize him as a serious weapon in the passing game. It only takes a moment to get behind the defense when you have the type of speed that Adams has. Nobody can convince me that he won't find the end zone several times on long bombs this season with all the other weapons running around in this offense.
He will not be the focus with opposing defenses
Speaking of those other weapons, this offense will have plenty of them. Steve Smith, David Gettis, DeAngelo Williams, Jonathan Stewart, Mike Tolbert, Brandon LaFell, KeAloha Pilares and Cam Newton are enough to worry anybody. It really seems unfair to add Joe Adams and his speed to that mix. I would not want to face these Panthers if I were on defense.
Expect big things from Joe Adams in Carolina right away. The timing is perfect for him to enter the league with a bang and Carolina is the perfect fit for him as well.
*Southern is a huge Carolina Panthers fan that is convinced that he will see a Super Bowl Trophy in Charlotte within five years.
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