As the Bengals look to continue upgrading the offensive line, the guard position is one that will be addressed in the 2018 NFL Draft. One prospect who the team should be considering is N.C. State guard Tony Adams.
Adams started more games than any other true freshman at NC State in 2014 and continued that trend as the Wolfpack’s most experienced starter in his senior year. The 6’2”, 322 pound guard finished out his college career with 35 career starts and 2,472 career snaps.
Adams, who is from Charlotte, North Carolina, comes from a competitive family. His dad was a Boston University wrestling coach for more than 30 years and his mom loves sports too, including tennis. In fact, the whole family takes part in regular tennis tournaments against one another.
“My family goes out and we all live in Charlotte and have tournaments and play against each other,” Adams said in an interview with Cincy Jungle. “Usually between me and my brothers, we’re really competitive and it’s really fun.”
As a lineman, footwork is key to Adams’ game and he believes playing tennis has helped in that regard.
“One thing that’s honed in on is being able to move well and move at a fast pace and being able to move your feet,” Adams said of playing tennis. “That really helped my footwork in football to be able to move quickly. I showed that during my pro day.”
Adams wasn’t invited to the NFL Scouting Combine, but at N.C. State pro day, he put up a 5.47 second 40-yard dash, 21 reps on the bench press, 25.5” vertical jump, 100” broad jump, 4.89 seconds in the 20-yard shuttle and 8.13 seconds in the 3-cone drill.
“Not going to the combine allowed me to get a bigger chip on my shoulder, it allowed me to understand that life doesn’t always go your way,” Adams said. “It would have been really nice to be invited to the combine to talk to teams but no matter the journey to get to my NFL career, it doesn’t matter where you start, it’s where you finish. The end goal is to get on a team, make a team and eventually be a starter, an All-Pro and win a Super Bowl. Being at this point, a lot of things can be said and done but nothing really matters until we put some helmets on.”
Adams may not have an NFL win under his belt just yet, but he certainly has a winning attitude as he approaches the NFL Draft. Who doesn’t want a player with not only a team-centric goal of winning a Super Bowl, but the personal goal of being an All-Pro, too.
“Ultimately, I have a lot of film and people want to see my knee is fine and it is,” Adams said of what he’s looking to prove in the lead up to the draft. He didn’t participate in the Sun Bowl due to a knee injury, but he did play in the East-West Shrine game and was a full participant at his pro day. “I’ve had no setbacks with my recovery. It’s been an amazing journey to understand how things work, being a grown up and getting hurt put a lot into perspective for me. I’ve just been trying to make sure teams understand I’m good and I displayed that at my pro day.”
Quite a few N.C. State players are expected to be drafted this year, a few of whom are defensive linemen Adams routinely practiced against. That includes Bradley Chubb, the consensus best pass rusher and potentially the best defensive player in this year’s draft class.
“We made each other better and that’s one thing we took pride in,” Adams said of practicing with Chubb, as well as anticipated day three draft picks B.J. Hill, Justin Jones and Kentavius Street.
“They helped (the offensive line) grow as a unit because we knew we had to bring it everyday. And we were very cohesive,” Adams said. “That really helped us in games. Those guys are so fast, so quick and when we got to games, guys were slower than that. And they’ll tell you we brought it to them every practice and we made them better as much as they made us better.”
In the lead up to the draft, Adams has been training with Street in addition to running back Nyheim Hines, yet another N.C. State player expected to be drafted in April.
“Everywhere we went we were able to showcase how physical we are, and how technically we are sound because of Coach Thunder,” Adams said of training with Hines and Street in Tampa in the lead up to the draft. Coach Thunder is Dantonio Burnette, N.C. State’s former head strength and conditioning coach who has since been promoted to assistant athletic director. “That was cool to have that kind of perspective.”
Beyond training in Tampa, Adams spent time in January in St. Petersburg Florida for the East-West Shrine game. The game brings together draft prospects from all over the country and was an amazing experience for Adams as he got to compete with like-minded athletes, all of whom have the same goal in mind: making it in the NFL. But, it was actually an off-the-field element of the week in St. Petersburg that stood out to the guard.
Shriners Hospitals for Children is a health care system with 22 locations in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. The Shrine game was created back in 1925 to support the hospital, which has served more than 1.3 million children.
“Seeing the kids at the Shriners Hospital really touched me,” Adams said. “The smiles on their face; you could tell they lived through us and it was really inspirational.”
Back to the on-the-field element, Adams enjoyed communicating with his fellow offensive linemen, working as a unit and displaying his talent to scouts in Florida. Adams showed what he could do in college, at the shrine game and at his pro day. Now, it’s time for NFL teams to decide if they want to take a gamble on the N.C. State guard.
“Teams should know I’m a competitor, a team leader and I want to win,” Adams said. “One thing I love about football is the growth and development you get being around other people and understanding yourself not only as a player but a person. You go through a lot of adversity and the development holds you to a certain standard and makes winning very special.
“Whatever team wants me, I will help the team to my best ability and hope to help a team win a lot of games and eventually, win a Super Bowl.”