FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Shortly after he heard his name called Thursday night, Jamal Adams had only one thought. Actually, two.
The Jets’ newest safety couldn’t help but get excited about the prospect of covering the “legend” Rob Gronkowski.
“As soon as I got drafted, that was one of the first people I thought about. Him, as well as the G.O.A.T. Tom Brady,” Adams said of the Patriots tight end and quarterback during his introductory news conference Friday. “Tremendous respect for the guys, that organization. All I can do is just come in and work as hard as I can, listen to the coaching staff. And hopefully they’ll have me ready.”
For the second time in three years, the Jets got lucky with the No. 6 pick, using it to select Adams, arguably the best safety in this year’s class. And despite his surprising slip in the draft order, Adams beamed as he posed for pictures with a road-green Jets jersey bearing the No. 1 and his last name on the back.
The last 24 hours, he said, “have been a dream.”
And it’s been a whirlwind of emotion for his parents too.
Less than a mile from where his father embarked on his first training camp with the Giants three decades ago, the former LSU safety was officially introduced to his new home with a grand tour of the Jets facility. And, as always, his parents, George and Michelle, were by his side.
In many ways, the Adams family has come full circle.
Aside from their obvious Giants’ ties, Michelle grew up in Yonkers and the family once lived in Hackensack and still has relatives in the New Jersey area.
“I’m so grateful to have this opportunity to see my baby grow up and do the same thing that I’ve done,” George, a former running back, said as he stood outside the Jets facility, less than a two-minute drive from Fairleigh Dickinson University, where the Giants held training camp from 1988-1995.
“Even though I was with the Giants and he’s with the Jets, it doesn’t matter,” added George, who was drafted 19th overall in 1985. “We’re still in the same city.”
Now, father and son can both say they’re first-round picks. And it’s a fact Jamal won’t let George soon forget.
The rookie reminded everyone Friday that his father has yet to pay up on the bet they made that he woudn’t be selected higher than 19. “It was $100,000. No, he doesn’t want to pay,” Adams said playfully.
At that moment, George stood up in the front row, grabbed a folded $5 bill and handed it to his son.
“There, I paid it,” he said, smiling.
Jets select Maye in second round. The safety dance continued for the Jets on Day 2 with the selection of Florida’s Marcus Maye.
It was a surprising move considering they took Adams less than 24 hours earlier. But with rampant speculation about the Jets trying to trade both safety Calvin Pryor and defensive end Sheldon Richardson, it’s clear the front office is looking to move on from Pryor and veteran safety Marcus Gilchrist sooner rather than later.
Maye, the 39th overall pick, started the first nine games of his senior season before he broke his arm. He finished the year with five interceptions. Asked if he’ll be able to participate in spring practices, Maye said: ”Everything’s clear . . . I’ll be ready to go.”
He admitted being “a little bit” surprised that the Jets drafted him, but he’s excited to pair up with Adams. “I was just waiting for that call, and it was the Jets,” Maye said. “ . . . I think we’ll be great together.”
Jets trade down, pick Alabama’s Stewart. General manager Mike Maccagnan made it known during the pre-draft process that he was open to trading down, and he finally was able to find a partner late Friday night. The Jets dealt their third-round pick (No. 70 overall) to Minnesota in exchange for the Vikings’ 79th and 160th overall pick in Round 5.
And they used their first third-round selection to take former Alabama wide receiver Ardarius Stewart, who’s known best for his aggressive style of play.
The Jets entered Day 2 with three total picks between the second and third rounds. But they walked away with only two players after trading away their final pick of the night.
They swapped pick No. 107 to Tampa Bay in exchange for the Bucs’ 125th and 204th selections. That means the Jets will have six total picks on Day 3 of the draft: No. 125 (Round 4), Nos. 150 and 160 (Round 5), Nos. 191 and 204 (Round 6) and No. 224 (Round 7).
Florida S/6-0, 207
The Jets clearly think there’s “safety” in numbers. Drafting Jamal Adams sixth overall didn’t stop them from grabbing Maye, a versatile defensive back who can play in the box and be a free safety. He also was a starter at safety and nickel in 2014.
Alabama WR/5-11, 204
Caught 54 passes for 864 yards and eight TDs. The Jets got another “alpha” for their locker room. The fiercely-competitive Stewart brings very physical play to the position.