Safety Jamal Adams has emerged as a leader in the Jets' secondary since New York drafted him sixth overall in 2017. But he didn't think he would always be a Jet.
Considered one of the elite prospects in the 2017 draft class, Adams told the New York Daily News' Manish Mehta he thought the Chicago Bears would draft him, even after they traded up from No. 3 to No. 2.
"I'm not even going to sugar coat it. I thought I was going to be a Chicago Bear," Adams told Mehta ahead of Sunday's Jets-Bears matchup. "Everybody did. But it didn't work out that way. And I landed in the best possible position."
Chicago moved up one spot to draft quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, yet Adams said neither he nor Trubisky received a call in the green room prior to Roger Goodell's announcement on stage in Philadelphia.
"The cameras were on Mitch and me. So, we did not know," he said. "The cameras were on both of us. We definitely didn't know. No one got the call. The commissioner made the pick. No one in the green room got a call. No one."
The 49ers drafted defensive end Solomon Thomas third overall. Then running back Leonard Fournette went to Jacksonville. The Titans picked wide receiver Corey Davis fifth, and Adams slid to the Jets at No. 6. A chip on his shoulder?
"Listen, there's no hard feelings," Adams said. "I was a top-six pick. But I remember everybody that was picked before me. And what team they went to."
The 23-year-old Adams has started every game since joining the Jets, and his presence on the field has been noticeable. He's recorded three sacks, three forced fumbles, one interception, 12 passes defensed and 133 combined tackles. But more than the numbers, he's been a leader inside the locker room.
"I'm a very passionate football player, but this man is on another level," defensive lineman Steve McLendon told Mehta. "He's going to be something special in this league for a long time."
Though the Bears traded their No. 3 pick, third-rounders in 2017 and 2018 and a fourth-round pick in 2017 to move up one spot to draft Trubisky, it's safe to say they gave up a fair amount to draft the player they believe is their quarterback of the future.
The 24-year-old Trubisky, who threw for 333 yards and two touchdowns in last week's 38-31 loss to the Patriots, is 7-11 as a starter since last season and has led the Bears to a 3-3 record. This season, he has thrown for 1,594 yards, 13 touchdowns and six interceptions.
But Adams isn't looking back at the past and wondering "what if?" He's looking ahead to Sunday in hopes of getting New York back to .500.
"I'm looking forward to this game," he said. "Just know that. I'm definitely looking forward to it."