With training camp and preseason underway, the New England Patriots are fully “on to 2021.”
The team currently has 86 players under contract, but only 53 of them will be able to survive roster cutdowns in August and September and ultimately make the active team. Over the course of spring and summer, just like we have in years past, we are taking a look at the players fighting for those spots to find out who has the best chances of helping the Patriots bounce back from what was a disappointing 7-9 season last year.
Today, the series continues with defensive lineman Montravius Adams.
Name: Montravius Adams
Position: Defensive tackle/Interior defensive line
Jersey number: 90
Opening day age: 26
Size: 6-foot-4, 305 pounds
Contract status: Under contract through 2021 (2022 UFA)
What is his experience? Coming off a four-year career at Auburn, Adams heard his name called on Day Two of the 2017 draft: the Green Bay Packers selected him 93rd overall in the third round. The start into his professional career was a slow one, however. Adams suffered a stress fracture in his foot early in training camp and as a result was forced to sit out his entire rookie preseason. Failing to make up for the missed time, he saw action in just seven games as a reserve option. His first season was a sign of things to come.
While Adams went on to appear in 40 more games over the next three years, he never quite took the leap into a more prominent role. Despite an intriguing athletic profile, he failed to exceed the 20-percent playing time share he had in 2017. In total, he finished his Packers tenure with just 595 defensive snaps and rather unspectacular numbers. He did force and recover a fumble each, but notched only 1.5 sacks while failing to string together positive plays. A season-ending toe injury suffered last November all but sealed his fate.
What did his 2020 season look like? Adams’ 2020 season was pretty much doomed from the start. He suffered a sprained toe on his right foot in training camp and was hampered throughout the year. While missed only one game — the season opener against the Minnesota Vikings — over the first two months of the season, the issue eventually forced Green Bay to send him to injured reserve for the remainder of the season: the Packers sent Adams to IR in late November and did not reactivate him again.
Adams, who also was listed as questionable on two injury reports due to neck (Week 6 against Tampa Bay) and foot (Week 7 against Houston) ailments, ended up playing a total of eight games in 2020. All in all, he was on the field for a total of 130 out of a possible 1,027 defensive snaps for the Packers (12.7%). He also added 71 more snaps on special teams (of 430; 16.5%), but his impact as a whole was fairly limited even when he was able to take the field. The statistics he put up reflect that.
The former third-round draft pick registered just 11 tackles all year, and was a virtual non-factor against the pass: despite actually playing more pass-rushing than run-defending snaps, Adams registered only two quarterback disruptions and did not have a single tackle versus the pass. He had some solid moments in the running game — all of his tackles came on the ground, including two for loss — but overall his 2020 season was a disappointment. That was especially true given that he was playing for a new contract.
What is his projected role? While Adams has played a few snaps at the nose as well, he projects to be more of a 3-technique end in the Patriots’ 3-4-based front-line scheme. In this role he will likely be employed primarily on early downs against the run rather than the pass, and would be asked to serve as a two-gap defender responsible for filling his lanes and freeing up the linebackers attacking from the second level. Adams is projected to compete for a rotational spot alongside behind the starter-level interior linemen.
What is his special teams value? With his defensive role limited, the Packers gave Adams somewhat regular action in the kicking game. Playing on the field goal and extra point blocking units, as well as the protection squad on the other side, he played a combined 257 snaps in the game’s third phase. During his first game in New England last Thursday, however, he was not employed on special teams.
Does he have positional versatility? Even though Adams brings a solid athletic foundation to the table and was moved around the front quite a bit during his time in Green Bay and the Patriots’ preseason opener as well, his skillset as a whole is comparatively one-dimensional. He is best suited to play over the guard and move between the 1- and 3-technique spots, and has limited upside when asked to shoot up the field in pass rushing situations.
What is his salary cap situation? The Patriots signed Adams to a one-year contract during the first week of free agency, and he carries a salary cap number of $1.09 million that does qualify him for Top-51 status. The deal itself is pretty straight forward, as Miguel Benzan illustrated on Twitter: Adams carries a $990,000 salary, a $50,000 signing bonus, and $53,235 in additional roster and offseason workout bonuses. Only his signing bonus is fully guaranteed and would stay on New England’s books in case of a release.
What is his roster outlook? The Patriots rebuilt their interior defensive line this offseason, with Adams only one of the players added. As opposed to Davon Godchaux, Henry Anderson and Christian Barmore — let alone re-signees Lawrence Guy and Deatrich Wise Jr. — he is not a lock to make the roster, though. The 26-year-old needs to prove himself in training camp and preseason, but so far has been relatively quiet when compared to fellow roster bubble DT Carl Davis, for example.