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Gil Brandt's 12 most "clutch" NFL players right now: Adams # 12

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Checking in at 1, 2, and 3?  Mahomes, Watson, Lamar Jackson.  

 

http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000001101466/article/nfls-most-clutch-players-right-now-patrick-mahomes-tops-list

 

NFL's most clutch players right now? Patrick Mahomes tops list

 
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  • gil_brandt-110726_65.jpg
  • By Gil Brandt
  • NFL Media senior analyst
  • Published: Feb. 7, 2020 at 10:53 a.m.
  • Updated: Feb. 7, 2020 at 12:03 p.m.

There are few things in sports more entertaining or compelling than seeing a clutch player size up a seemingly impossible situation. Everyone knows something amazing is about to happen -- it's just a matter of waiting to see how the magic unfolds.

The 2019 NFL playoffs were jam-packed with clutch performances, headlined by Patrick Mahomes' show-stopping heroics in not one but three games, culminating in the Chiefs' comeback win in Super Bowl LIV. Inspired by Mahomes, I thought I'd compile a list of the 12 most clutch players in the NFL right now.

Note that caveat: I'm not talking about the most clutch players of the past few seasons or even the most clutch active players. Which is why you won't find all-time clutch figures like Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers on this list.

1) Patrick Mahomes, QB, Kansas City Chiefs

Nothing illustrates the fear that Mahomes strikes in the heart of opposing coaches better than the final 59 seconds of the first half of Super Bowl LIV. San Francisco had a first-and-10 on its own 20-yard line with all three timeouts left, and Kyle Shanahan still opted to call two run plays rather than use his timeouts to push for points with an aggressive approach -- because he didn't want to risk giving Mahomes an extra possession. Mahomes demonstrated exactly the kind of explosive ability Shanahan feared during Kansas City's fourth-quarter comeback, fueling a scoring spree of 21 unanswered points. No one can score as quickly as Mahomes, who combines the ability to make throws even other top-tier QBs can't with an innate feel for the passing game that continues to improve each season. He's the first quarterback under 25 to win a regular-season MVP award and a Super Bowl MVP. Just imagine how good he'll be as he continues to master the game under Andy Reid.

2) Deshaun Watson, QB, Houston Texans

Comparisons between Watson and his fellow 2017 first-round picks Patrick Mahomes and Mitchell Trubisky are inevitable. Mahomes' Super Bowl win bumps him to the front of the pack in terms of buzz, and obviously Watson lost a bit of luster when the Texans collapsed against Kansas City in the playoffs. But don't forget about the incredible ability of Watson, who has more comeback wins (eight) over the past two seasons than anyone else in the NFL, to will victories into existence in his own right. Whether he's shrugging off a kick to the eye to beat the Raiders or escaping certain doom to secure his first career playoff win, Watson has shown he should never be counted out.

3) Lamar Jackson, QB, Baltimore Ravens

Jackson deserved to be the unanimous MVP after one of the most prolific quarterbacking seasons in NFL history -- he's the only QB to ever generate at least 3,000 passing yards and 1,000 rushing yards in a single season. He posted impeccable passing numbers in the red zone (112.7 passer rating, best in the NFL among those with 60-plus red-zone attempts, with a 24:0 TD-to-INT ratio) and finished with 43 total touchdowns (36 passing, seven rushing). And good luck stopping him or the Ravens from getting a first down. Baltimore led the NFL in total first downs with 359, thanks in no small part to Jackson, who had 71 rushing first downs (40.3 percent of his 176 total carries resulted in a first down, most among those with 100-plus carries). No one in the NFL had more rushing firsts on third and fourth down than Jackson (27), who averaged 7.3 rushing yards per third/fourth-down carry and 11.82 rushing yards on carries from third/fourth-and-10 or more.

4) Christian McCaffrey, RB, Carolina Panthers

McCaffrey joined Marshall Faulk and Roger Craig in the exclusive 1,000/1,000 club, becoming the third player ever to produce more than 1,000 rushing yards and 1,000 receiving yards in the same season. It will be interesting to see whether new Panthers coach Matt Rhule and offensive coordinator Joe Brady continue to use McCaffrey as a total workhorse. But one thing is certain: You cannot dispute the clutch bona fides of a player who averaged 149.5 scrimmage yards per game, most among those with 200-plus touches. McCaffrey finished with a league-high 403 touches and 2,392 scrimmage yards, third-most in a single season in NFL history.

5) Derrick Henry, RB, Tennessee Titans

One of the highlights of the NFL's 100th season was seeing Henry become the first running back ever to generate 180-plus rushing yards in three consecutive games to help power the Titans to the AFC title match. It's even more impressive that he did so against incredibly stiff competition: the playoff-bound Texans in Week 17, the Patriots' sixth-ranked run defense in the Wild Card Round and the Ravens' fifth-ranked run defense in the Divisional Round. It's hard to imagine anything more clutch than putting your team on your back and nearly carrying it to the Super Bowl on your legs. Watching him, I had flashbacks of a Hall of Fame running back considered the greatest in Titans/Oilers history: Earl Campbell.

6) George Kittle, TE, San Francisco 49ers

If you were trying to explain the concept of clutch to an extraterrestrial being who had just arrived on Earth, you could just play the clip of Kittle carrying multiple Saints defenders into field-goal range on the fourth-down catch-and-run that set up San Francisco's thrilling Week 14 win. Don't be fooled by Kittle's apparent lack of playoff production: The amount of attention he drew from opposing defenses almost certainly opened things up for the rest of San Francisco's offense en route to the Super Bowl. Kittle finished 2019 with 85 catches for 1,053 yards and five touchdowns despite missing two games. He's on track to become the highest-paid tight end in the NFL, and he deserves it.

7) Michael Thomas, WR, New Orleans Saints

If Thomas is targeted, he will catch it, as reflected by his catch percentage of 82.5 over the past two seasons, best in the NFL in that span among receivers with 200-plus targets. Thomas also broke Marvin Harrison's single-season catch record of 143, which stood for 17 years, with one game to spare in 2019, finishing with 149 grabs. Basically, Thomas was an unstoppable asset in the passing game, even though he was also often the Saints' only legitimate receiving threat. The 33-catch gap between Thomas and the second-leading pass-catcher in the NFL, Christian McCaffrey (116), marks the biggest split between the Nos. 1 and 2 pass catchers since Don Hutson (74 catches) outpaced Pop Ivy (27) by 47 catches in 1942. Hutson is a Hall of Famer, and Thomas is on pace to join him some day.

8 ) Quenton Nelson, G, Indianapolis Colts

Not since Leonard Davis went No. 2 overall to Arizona in 2001 has a guard been picked as early as Nelson, who went sixth overall in 2018 -- but he's proven worthy of that high pick and then some. This season, Nelson spearheaded a rushing attack that finished seventh in the NFL, and he also proved fantastic at pass-blocking. He's a dominating, strong, physical player who makes Indy's ground game go. When it's third-and-2, you can bet the Colts -- who finished with 131 rushing first downs, second-most in the league -- are running behind him.

9) Aaron Donald, DT, Los Angeles Rams

Donald will be 29 entering next season, but he's shown no signs of slowing down as a premier interior pass rusher. Per Next Gen Stats, in third- and fourth-down situations, no one in the NFL had more quarterback pressures than Donald (29) this season, and few got to the quarterback faster (4.05 seconds in average time to sack, sixth among those with five-plus sacks on third and fourth down). While his overall sack total dipped in 2019, he still led defensive tackles with 12.5 sacks and 20 tackles for loss, and he joined Reggie White, Derrick Thomas and DeMarcus Ware as the only players to record at least eight sacks in each of their first six seasons.

10) T.J. Watt, LB, Pittsburgh Steelers

There is now a legitimate competition as to who would qualify as the best pass rusher in the Watt family: J.J. or T.J. The younger Watt will not be denied when he wants to bring down the quarterback; no other linebacker has more total sacks than Watt (34.5) since he entered the NFL in 2017, and no one with 10-plus sacks in 2019 reached the quarterback faster than Watt (3.92 seconds in average time to sack, per Next Gen Stats). Watt should be pulling for the Steelers to keep Bud Dupree from leaving via free agency; Watt and Dupree combined for 26 sacks, the second-highest total for an NFL duo on the same team, behind only the Buccaneers' Shaquil Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul.

11) Stephon Gilmore, CB, New England Patriots

Gilmore was merciless on third and fourth downs, allowing a passer rating of 0.0 and a completion rate of 28.9 percent while picking off four passes, per Next Gen Stats -- all top marks among defensive players who were targeted 20-plus times in such situations. With an NFL-best 20 passes defensed and six picks (tied for most in the league), Gilmore was a deserving winner of the Defensive Player of the Year award.

12) Jamal Adams, S, New York Jets

Already solid in coverage and against the run, Adams had another game-changing skill tapped into by defensive coordinator Gregg Williams: a knack for rushing the passer. Adams finished the season with 6.5 sacks -- a bit short of tying Adrian Wilson's record for sacks by a defensive back (eight) from 2005 -- and 17 QB pressures, both tops among safeties in 2019, per Next Gen Stats. When you combine Adams' leadership skills with his tenacious style of play, it's obvious he should become the highest-paid safety in NFL history this offseason.

Honorable mention: Danielle Hunter, DE, Minnesota Vikings; Minkah Fitzpatrick, S, Pittsburgh Steelers; Dak Prescott, QB, Dallas Cowboys; Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Dallas Cowboys; Tre'Davious White, CB, Buffalo Bills; DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston Texans; Tyrann Mathieu, S, Kansas City Chiefs; Nick Bosa, DE, San Francisco 49ers; Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons.

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He has fooled pretty well everyone it seems.

His leadership skills so far are evident because he proclaims himself to be a leader.

His gaudy sack totals are due to the fact we have no pass rushers at all.

We have to severely compromise the rest of the defense to accommodate his play style and strengths.

He is hardly ever asked to cover anyone.

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Jamal Adams the superstar NY Jets player without him we wouldn't have any players in all these top player polls and ratings. 

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2 minutes ago, joewilly12 said:

Jamal Adams the superstar NY Jets player without him we wouldn't have any players in all these top player polls and ratings. 

Because, that is what the league is about.

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3 minutes ago, JiF said:

The things he does on the field arent real.  He's basically Football's version of David Copperfield, fooling errybody!....but the super smart Jets fans! 

No doubt.  All those non-Jets fans out there who watch our 0.5 nationally televised games a year are the smart ones.  

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22 minutes ago, JiF said:

He wouldnt even been selected in the top 200!!!!!!

Gil Brandt is just as unreputable as PFF. These lists mean nothing. 

 

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12 minutes ago, joewilly12 said:

Jamal Adams the superstar NY Jets player without him we wouldn't have any players in all these top player polls and ratings. 

He is last on the list. 

Top 10 or bust. 

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Just now, JTJet said:

He is last on the list. 

Top 10 or bust. 

He is the only NY Jets player remotely close to being on the list. 

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Folks are just pissy that we didnt pick Mahomes or Watson. 

This franchise would have destroyed Mahomes and Watson, just like it's currently doing to Darnold. 

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5 sacks against the SKins and Giants...      zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

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Just now, Villain The Foe said:

Folks are just pissy that we didnt pick Mahomes or Watson. 

This franchise would have destroyed Mahomes and Watson, just like it's currently doing to Darnold. 

Some fans need to move on from all that its over and support the very good player we did select. 

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1 minute ago, joewilly12 said:

Some fans need to move on from all that its over and support the very good player we did select. 

This is the first time that I've seen an all pro player get blamed for ownership and front office mistakes. 

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9 minutes ago, Samtorobby47 said:

Gil Brandt is just as unreputable as PFF. These lists mean nothing. 

 

HOF NFL executive doesn't know sh*t compared to the geniuses here on Jetnation.

ali g GIF

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15 minutes ago, JiF said:

The things he does on the field arent real.  He's basically Football's version of David Copperfield, fooling errybody!....but the super smart Jets fans! 

No, he stops the run and is good at getting to the QB.  He also flails his arms around whenever a play is made drawing attention to himself.  Classic case,  Dallas game Quinnen Williams makes his one big play of the year on the dak prescott stop, Adams comes in late to clean up and then romps around flailing the arms.  Camera goes to him and commentators heap praise on jamal adams and his great play.

Ever wonder why we had to watch Neville Hewitt chasing slot guys, wrs, tes down field half the year?

 

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2 minutes ago, Beerfish said:

No, he stops the run and is good at getting to the QB.  He also flails his arms around whenever a play is made drawing attention to himself.  Classic case,  Dallas game Quinnen Williams makes his one big play of the year on the dak prescott stop, Adams comes in late to clean up and then romps around flailing the arms.  Camera goes to him and commentators heap praise on jamal adams and his great play.

Ever wonder why we had to watch Neville Hewitt chasing slot guys, wrs, tes down field half the year?

 

Jamal Mr Clutch Adams. 

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Sucks that Darnold cost the Jets 4 picks and a shot at Watson and mahomes 

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that 61 TD/INT against Pats when we were losing 30-7 in the 4thQ was just so cluuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuutch

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8 minutes ago, Villain The Foe said:

 

#1. He's pretty much made everyone doubting him look like a fool for doing so. 

#2. His leadership skills are evident because he proclaims himself to be a leader, and nothing has shown him to be nothing but that. 

#3. His gaudy sack totals are due to the fact that we have no pass rushers at all, which means that he's also doing other peoples jobs. 

#4. We have to severely compromise the rest of the defense to accommodate the fact that we have "no pass rushers at all"...and Adams has proven to help in that area.

#5. He's hardly ever asked to cover anyone given that he's the best pass rusher on a team that has no pass rushers, however, when he's is asked to cover, he covers well. 

 

You guys need to give it up already. 

#1 The doubters have not changed at all because his weakness and the fact we have to tailor make our D to accommodate him have not changed.

#2 Boy have I seen a lot of this in my time, if you have to constantly proclaim you are a leader you are no leader.

#3 He is doing other peoples jobs at the cost of providing no safety help to a shaky secondary and having guys like hewitt having to cover guys he should never be asked to cover.  In the world of Jamal glory it is and will be a good thing if we never get an outside pass rusher.

#4 True, and the day this team gets a pass rusher and the D becomes a normal nfl D jamal goes from 6 1/2 sacks to 2 and gets killed when asked to cover, or more likley he will start beefing about his roll in the defense.  (Oh and we are going to pay him 16-17 mill a year on a long term deal for this.)

#5 The hybrid player comes and goes guys like Landon Collins and Deone Buchanon fall off fast.

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13 minutes ago, Villain The Foe said:

Folks are just pissy that we didnt pick Mahomes or Watson. 

This franchise would have destroyed Mahomes and Watson, just like it's currently doing to Darnold. 

No, this fact gets brought up a lot but it has nothing to do with the view of most anti Adams posters.  Adams, for what he does, when he does it how much it really helps a team win and how he will contribute in the future is the big question.

 

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15 minutes ago, Losmeister said:

5 sacks against the SKins and Giants...      zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

How many sacks did our  DL #3 selection have all season......

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4 minutes ago, Beerfish said:

5 The hybrid player comes and goes guys like Landon Collins and Deone Buchanon fall off fast.

Super Bowl Champion Tyrann Mathieu says hello. 

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51 minutes ago, JiF said:

He wouldnt even been selected in the top 200!!!!!!

Gil Brandt considered a Guard to be clutch enough to sit him at #8

chill.

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Just now, joewilly12 said:

Super Bowl Champion Tyrann Mathieu says hello. 

He also was a former cover corner and is known for shadowing players and getting turnovers but okay.

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Just now, Patriot Killa said:

He also was a former cover corner and is known for shadowing players and getting turnovers but okay.

So you blame Jamal Adams for the NY Jets not getting more turnovers. 

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Just now, joewilly12 said:

So you blame Jamal Adams for the NY Jets not getting more turnovers. 

Is he not a part of the NY Jets? Is he not “da best player on dahh team”??

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35 minutes ago, joewilly12 said:

Jamal Adams the superstar NY Jets player without him we wouldn't have any players in all these top player polls and ratings. 

Well without him we'd have #1 or #2 on this list, so it depends on your point of view. We'd also have a 2018 #1 pick and three more 2nd rounders as well. Just saying.

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Just now, Patriot Killa said:

Is he not a part of the NY Jets? Is he not “da best player on dahh team”??

How did the rest of the D do in the turnover department compared to the rest of the NFL. 

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25 minutes ago, Jetsfan80 said:

No doubt.  All those non-Jets fans out there who watch our 0.5 nationally televised games a year are the smart ones.  

Oh, in that case, I never want to hear you opinion about a player who doesnt play for the Jets. 

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Just now, Sperm Edwards said:

Well without him we'd have #1 or #2 on this list, so it depends on your point of view. We'd also have a 2018 #1 pick and three more 2nd rounders as well. Just saying.

Jamal Adams didn't draft Jamal Adams and do you really think those other QB's would be as good as they are on the current NY Jets roster. 

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17 minutes ago, Beerfish said:

No, he stops the run and is good at getting to the QB.  He also flails his arms around whenever a play is made drawing attention to himself.  Classic case,  Dallas game Quinnen Williams makes his one big play of the year on the dak prescott stop, Adams comes in late to clean up and then romps around flailing the arms.  Camera goes to him and commentators heap praise on jamal adams and his great play.

Ever wonder why we had to watch Neville Hewitt chasing slot guys, wrs, tes down field half the year?

 

David Copperfield of Footballl!

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