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Prospect Profiles: The Secondary Class

In order to familiarize fans with some of the top names in the 2017 NFL Draft, Chargers.com will be highlighting top prospects by position each week leading up to the first day of the draft on April 27th.

*Next up is a look at some of the premiere defensive backs according to pundits. *

Jamal Adams

School: LSU
Height: 6-0
Weight: 214 poundsPosition: Safety
NFL Network Pro Comparison: Darren Woodson

According to draft experts, Jamal Adams may be the most well rounded prospect in the NFL Draft. 

After all, there isn't anything the LSU star can't do from the safety position.

Adams can roam the secondary with the best of them as a centerfielder, match up man-to-man in the nickel or play as an in the box safety in run support.  He's a physical tone-setter on the back end who is as likely to lay the hammer with a physical hit over the middle as he is to pick the ball off with his natural instincts. Adams also earns rave reviews for his leadership ability.

The 6-0, 214-pounder made his presence known as a true freshman before earning second-team All SEC honors as a sophomore by notching 67 tackles, four interceptions and six passes defensed.  He was named an AP first-team All American as a junior last season after totaling 76 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, one pick and four passes defensed.

Adams boasts an NFL pedigree as his father George was selected as a first-round running back in 1984 by the New York Giants.  With an ability to make an impact in various ways all over the field, it would shock most pundits if he was not one of the top 10 picks come draft day.

Combine Metrics
40-Yard Dash:4.56 seconds
Bench Press: 18 reps
Vertical Jump: 31.5 inches
Broad Jump: 120.0 inches

Malik Hooker

School: Ohio State
Height: 6-1
Weight: 206 poundsPosition: Free Safety
NFL Network Pro Comparison: Reggie Nelson

It's not often safeties earn comparisons to Ed Reed or Earl Thomas, but it's almost impossible to hear a draft analyst discuss Malik Hooker without uttering one of those two names.

All it takes is one look at his breakout 2016 campaign at Ohio State to see why.

Hooker emerged as one of the best ball hawks in recent years, ranking second in the country with seven interceptions. The red shirt sophomore broke onto the scene also totaling 74 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss and 11 passes broken up in his lone season as a starter.

The 6-1, 206-pounder boasts all the traits scouts look for in a free safety.  Hooker's natural instincts and innate ability to read the play puts him in ideal positions.  His range is also off the charts as he roams the secondary from sideline to sideline. As a result, he's a threat to pick the ball off every time it is in the air.

With only one year of real experience, scouts note Hooker is still a raw work in progress.  Nonetheless, his mere presence lurking in the secondary is enough to rattle a quarterback, which is why most expect him to hear his name early come draft day.

Adoree' Jackson

School: USC
Height: 5-10
Weight: 186 poundsPosition: Cornerback
NFL Network Pro Comparison: Johnathan Joseph

It's easy to see why Adoree' Jackson is one of the more intriguing prospects in this year's draft.

After all, the USC star may be the best pure athlete available, which is why the Trojans lined him up on offense, defense and as a returner.

Still, Jackson figures to make his mark at cornerback in the NFL.  He is fresh off a dynamic junior season in which he won the Jim Thorpe Award as the nation's top defensive back.  Jackson also was named a first-team All-American and Pac-12 pick as he totaled five interceptions and 11 passes defensed last year for the Trojans.

The 5-10, 186-pounder impressed from the moment he stepped on the field as he was named a Freshman All-American and Pac-12 Defensive Rookie of the Year. Dangerous on special teams, Jackson totaled eight return touchdowns over his three-year career (four punt, four kickoff). A two-sport star, he earned All-American honors in track in 2015 and 2016.

Coaches and scouts salivate over the numerous ways Jackson can help a team at the next level, which is why he figures to hear his name early come the draft.

Combine Metrics
40-Yard Dash:4.42 seconds
Vertical Jump: 36.0 inches
Broad Jump: 122.0 inches

Marshon Lattimore

School: Ohio State
Height: 6-0
Weight: 193 poundsPosition: Cornerback
**NFL Network Pro Comparison: Vontae Davis *

In a deep cornerback class, Marshon Lattimore is the consensus pick to be the first off the board.

The 6-0, 193-pound Buckeye has a unique combination of size and speed along with rare athletic gifts that make him the total package at the position. Lattimore posted a blazing fast 4.36 40-yard dash at the Combine, which was the third fastest time for a cornerback. He's also a strong tackler who makes his presence felt when lowering his shoulder.

After appearing in seven games as a freshman, Lattimore is fresh off a standout season as a redshirt sophomore at Ohio State.  Coaches bestowed first-team All-Big Ten honors on him as he was second on the team and sixth in the conference with four interceptions. Lattimore also totaled 41 tackles and a team-high 13 passes defensed.

Even though he only has one year of starting experience under his belt, draft experts believe Lattimore can hit the ground running and make an impact beginning in his rookie year.

Combine Metrics
40-Yard Dash:4.36 seconds
Vertical Jump: 38.5 inches
Broad Jump: 132.0 inches

Jabril Peppers

School: Michigan
Height: 5-11
Weight: 213 poundsPosition: Safety
NFL Network Pro Comparison: Eric Weddle

Jabril Peppers is a coach's dream with his ability to play multiple positions at a high level.

While some see him as a linebacker, or even running back, most believe he is bound for stardom as one of the NFL's next great safeties. Nonetheless, he showed off his total skillset by competing in both linebacker and defensive back drills during the NFL Scouting Combine.

Following a leg injury that forced him to redshirt, Peppers made a name for himself as a freshman in 2015.  He earned first-team Big-Ten honors and was named the conference's Freshman of the Year after totaling 45 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss and 10 passes defensed.

However, last year was when Peppers really broke out as he captured the Paul Hornung Award as the nation's most versatile player. He was also named the Lott IMPACT winner (top defensive back in character and performance) and Bo Schembechler Award as the team MVP.  Peppers saw time at safety, slot corner and linebacker for the Wolverines, logging a career-high 72 tackles and 16 tackles for loss. In addition, he also carried the rock 27 times on offense for 167 yards (6.2 ypc) and three touchdowns. The 5-11, 213-pounder was also one of college football's top returners over his collegiate career.

Still, Peppers will be expected to man the safety position in the NFL. However, coaches will likely use his versatility to disguise and disrupt defenses. With freak athleticism and elite speed, scouts expect him to fit in seamlessly at the next level.

Combine Metrics
40-Yard Dash:4.46 seconds
Bench Press: 19 reps
Vertical Jump: 35.5 inches
Broad Jump: 128.0 inches

The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed above do not represent the opinions or policies of the Los Angeles Chargers' front office staff, coaches or executives.

The Los Angeles Chargers will celebrate day three of the 2017 NFL Draft at StubHub Center on Saturday, April 29. DraftFest is free and open to the public. A long list of current and former Chargers players will also be in attendance signing autographs, taking pictures and mingling with fans.  Chargers confirmed to attend include Philip Rivers, Hunter Henry, this year's first-round pick and many more.

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