Position: Running back
Weight: 220 pounds
School: Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Combine Performance Data
Bench press: 18 reps
Josh Adams 2018 NFL Draft Profile
Ever since high school, a staple of Josh Adams‘ game has revolved around his ability to gain chunk plays in the run game. He rushed for a combined 3,708 yards as a sophomore and senior (he missed his junior season due to a torn ACL), adding 53 touchdowns at an average of 7.96 yards per carry. The native of Warrington, PA in the Philadelphia area had offers from all three FBS programs in his home state. But Notre Dame also showed interest, and Adams committed to the Blue and Gold in the summer before his senior year.
Once in South Bend, Adams was thrust into the spotlight fairly early. Though he started just three games as a true freshman, he appeared in all 13 contests. He certainly made his presence felt right off the bat with a 14-yard touchdown run on his first-ever carry in a season-opening blowout of Texas. That was just the beginning. Against Wake Forest on November 14th, Adams set an Irish school record with a 98-yard touchdown scamper. Two weeks later, he ran for a Notre Dame single-game freshman record 168 yards in a narrow loss to Stanford.
Adams scored one fewer touchdown as a sophomore than he did the previous season. But his rushing yardage numbers increased from 838 to 933 yards, a function of him starting three times as many games. He was hugely effective moving the chains with nearly one-third of his carries resulting in either a first down or touchdown. In the end, he became the first Irish back to rush for 800+ yards in each of his first two seasons. And only Allen Pinkett, Darius Walker, and Autry Denson finished with more yards that early in their ND careers.
From there, Adams transitioned into one of the best running backs in college football. His 1,430 yards rushing and 6.94 yards per carry both ranked top 20 nationally in 2017. He rushed for over 150 yards in five games last season, becoming the first Notre Dame running back to accomplish that feat. And in declaring for the draft a year early, he finishes his college career in sixth place on the school’s all-time rushing list.
- a thick-framed player who looks the part;
- generates good build-up speed as a downhill runner;
- can elude in space and plow through would-be tacklers to gain yards after contact;
- showed a propensity for moving the chains;
- capable hop cutter in the hole;
- takes arm tacklers for a ride;
- substantial extra gear in the open field to leave defenders behind;
- not the most laterally athletic;
- doesn’t get to the perimeter quick enough on runs outside the tackles;
- ordinary initial quickness makes it tough for him to wiggle through closing gaps;
- lack of effectiveness in pass game could impact his every-down value;
- needs to improve as an overall blocker;
- benefited from running behind a dominant offensive line;
NFL Comparison: James Starks
Projection: Fifth to sixth round
Adams’ production over the course of his three years in South Bend was beyond impressive. It was historic at times. As a result, he decided to make the move to the next level a year early. There’s no doubting that Adams boasts the prototypical body type of an NFL back and the top-end speed to match. He also proved capable of creating things on his own from a yards after contact standpoint. But next level talent evaluators have concerns over his one-dimensional running style and the burst he generates once the ball’s in his hands. That, combined with his lack of usage as a pass-catcher, might inhibit his ceiling. Still, Adams should be able to compete for a roster spot in training camp and establish a spot on the depth chart early on.