Adrian Amos has made a habit of proving himself to the Bears’ brass, and 2017 might have been his best showing yet.
Amos’ 2017 season was the embodiment of “taking the next step” and the end result was a body of work impressive enough to be named the NFL’s best at safety, according to Bleacher Report’s NFL1000 scouting team. That’s high praise considering he ranked higher than the likes of Devin McCourty, Earl Thomas, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, and every other free safety in the game.
“The first thing that stands out about Amos’ tape is his closing ability,” writes NFL1000 Lead Scout Doug Farrar. “He can cover huge swaths of ground in a big hurry, which allows him to make plays other safeties just can’t make.”
Amos built a reputation as one of the better tacklers in the secondary by taking direct routes to ball carriers and applying sound tackling technique to bring them down. That part of his game continued to be a strength in 2017, but Amos’ improvement defending against the pass is what took his overall play to another level. Amos’ first career interception was an impressive pick-six against Joe Flacco in a road win against the Baltimore Ravens. The interception was a long time coming for Amos, who played 2,108 snaps in 36 career games before coming up with a pick. It was the first moment where you could see the third-year safety was turning a corner.
After all, Amos’ struggle to force turnovers was a main reason why he ended up behind Quintin Demps and Eddie Jackson on the depth chart to start the season. If you’ll recall, Amos started the year on the bench despite starting 31 of 32 games in his first two seasons. Amos regained a starting job only when Demps hit injured reserve with a broken forearm and the Bears were better for it. Go figure. From there, Amos and Jackson played like the kind of safety tandem that has its best days ahead of them.
The praise from BR’s team of scouts wraps up what was a breakout season for Amos, who was a Pro Football Focus secret superstar, midseason All-Pro, first-team All-Pro, and the most productive player on a small contract in 2017. And to think, Amos might just be scratching the surface of his potential. Year 4 will be a contract year for Amos, whose rookie deal expires at the end of the 2018 season. Amos still needs to refine some things in his game. If he can do so, the Bears’ secondary will be in a good place to start 2018.