Jamal Adams Victor Green Erik McMillan
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This is no silliness required to pass the time; With respect to a couple, Jamal Adams is already the greatest safety in the New York Jets history.

Robby Sabo

This is no joking manner. In fact, rarely is professional football something to view while toying around.

One game means everything in this league. One season is a lifetime. Three seasons is usually a career.

Two-year standout Jamal Adams is already the New York Jets greatest safety in franchise history.

In terms of pure talent, forget about it; Adams resides on another planet. His speed, agility, aggressiveness, and, most importantly, his mind (football IQ) represents filthy degrees only a select handful in NFL history can match.

Of course, talent is only the starting point. Throwing together the career is what makes a “greatest ever.” Adams is already there.

Prior to the season, the gauntlet was thrown down. If Adams achieved All-Pro status in 2018, he would then leapfrog everybody for the No. 1 spot in franchise history. He did just that with Second-Team All-Pro honors (and yes, he was robbed of First-Team recognition).

The Greatest Safeties in Jets History

  1. Jamal Adams (2017-Active), 1 All-Pro
  2. Victor Green (1993-2003)
  3. Erik McMillan (1988-1992), 2 Pro Bowls
  4. Dainard Paulson (1961-66), 2 Pro Bowls
  5. Bill Baird (1963-1969)
  6. Kerry Rhodes (2005-2009)
  7. Dick Felt (1960-61), 1 Pro Bowl
  8. Jim Hudson (1965-1970)
  9. LaRon Landry (2012), 1 Pro Bowl
  10. Darrol Ray (1980-1984)
  11. Ken Schroy (1977-1984)
  12. Burgess Owens (1973-1979)
  13. Brian Washington (1990-1994)

All-Pros and Pro-Bowls aren’t the only critical factor in the mix, but man, this team’s safety history is bleak. It’s one of the forefront explanations why Adams is already the greatest in organizational history.

Victor Green, despite never qualifying for a Pro Bowl, played over a decade in New York. He currently ranks fifth in team history with 610 solo tackles. Much of it came during the two down years of 1995 and 1996, but the man was as punishing a strong safety as it gets.

Honestly, Green is Adams’s only legit competition for the top spot. Erik McMillan and Dainard Paulson, though decorated (two seasons apiece), didn’t enjoy incredibly long careers.

How Can Just 2 Years Get It Done?

It’s pretty simple, actually; the impact Adams has created in his two sole seasons outproduces everything any one safety has put forth. His Second-Team All-Pro impact (the only one in team history) is just the tip of the iceberg.

Forget about interceptions. Too many fans and media pundits get hung up on that defensive back stat. Adams, who came away with no interceptions during his rookie campaign, finished with just one a year ago.

The man plays linebacker. Alright, so he doesn’t exactly play linebacker, but he does for the majority of his snaps.

Adams is the best edge run-support safety in the league and it’s not even close. He’s one of the top zone-coverage safeties in the NFL (greatly improving from year one to two).

His tackling is ridiculous. His football sense has him placed in every proper spot on the football field. He’s also, dare I say, New York’s best individual pound-for-pound pass rusher.

In a video done by PFF in early December, Adams’s positionless nature was showcased.

At that point in the season, he had lined up a total of 448 plays at strong safety or edge linebacker of a total 925 times. It’s exactly why interceptions are the last of Adams’s concern.

Adams’s 2018 final line consisted of 115 tackles (86 solo), one interception, 3.5 sacks, 12 passes defensed, three forced fumbles, and one recovery. He did this with arguably the worst four-man conventional pass rush in the NFL.

In 1996, Victor Green tallied 165 total tackles (123 solo), two sacks, two interceptions, two forced fumbles, and three recoveries. To Green’s credit, he put up the career year on a 1-15 team. At the same time, the offense was more the culprit. Hugh Douglass and Bobby Hamilton actually represented a purer form of pass-rushing that lifted the safety position to a slighter-higher degree.

Nonetheless, Adams’s single-season output was by far the superior example. For all of Green’s run-support brilliance, his pass coverage was a contrasting story.

Erik McMillan, who made an immediate impact as a rookie in 1998 and then as as sophomore, collected 14 interceptions over that two-year span. He was a true centerfielder, unlike Adams and Green who roamed the field. Again, unlike Adams and like Green, McMillan’s prototype covers just a partial aspect of the stud safety position.

Jamal Adams does it all.

If certain folks want to hold the “best in franchise history” designation back until after season three, fine, but it’s just not necessary. Two NFL seasons can be looked to equal four NBA seasons. Mix in the notion that this specific case of organizational safety history has been weak and suddenly, the outcome is quite clear.

Jamal Adams is the already the greatest safety in New York Jets history and he’s just getting started.

Robby Sabo is a co-founder, CEO and credentialed New York Jets content creator for Jets X-Factor - Jet X, which includes Sabo's Sessions (in-depth film breakdowns) and Sabo with the Jets. Host: Underdog Jets Podcast with Wayne Chrebet and Sabo Radio. Member: Pro Football Writers of America. Coach: Port Jervis (NY) High School. Washed up strong safety and 400M runner. SEO: XL Media. Founder: Elite Sports NY - ESNY (Sold in 2020). SEO: XL Media. Email: robby.sabo[at]jetsxfactor.com