Florida St RB Cam Akers is a prime example of a player whose full skill and potential can’t be told by just looking at his stats. In 11 games he rushed for 1,144 yards and 14 touchdowns while averaging 5.0 yards per carry. Those are good numbers. But if you dig a little deeper and watch the film on him, you’d see that Akers was playing behind a leaky offensive line and often had to create yards on his own. Constantly facing penetration behind the line of scrimmage is difficult for any RB, and it’s easy to see that Akers’ numbers would have been even better if he had better blocking in front of him. This is why numbers do lie, and why it’s always important to back up your data with context. Akers is a better RB than his numbers indicate, and that’s a scary thought.
Below is my full scouting report on RB prospect Cam Akers.
Grading Scale (from best to worst):
Name: Cam Akers
Height: 5 feet, 3/8th inches
Weight: 217 lbs
Arm: 30 5/8th inches
Wingspan: 74 5/8th inches
College Team: Florida State
Vision: Good/Great. Difficult to evaluate because of a sub-par offensive line in front of him. Blocking execution would often break down, forcing him to abandon his post-snap path execute outside of structure. That lack of trust shows up in other reps as he doesn’t always show disciplined footwork to create leverage and manipulate second-level defenders. Has a good feel for penetrating defenders and is capable of creating yards on his own. Good use of angles in space and on screens.
Burst: Great. Vertical and horizontal explosiveness can be very deceptive. Shifts gears very well. Knows how to mix in pacing with burst to defeat pursuit angles and win the edge against defenders. Really explodes once he gets moving vertically.
Agility: Elite. Can go, stop, and go again at a high level. Feet work well with eyes when creating. Elusive in tight spaces, especially in the backfield when he must sift through traffic. Shifts running lanes very well when going north-south by using highly effective speed cuts. Runs with a low center of gravity and hip level.
Cam Akers vs Louisville.
Am I the only one that gets Alvin Kamara-like vibes when watching this guy run? pic.twitter.com/hsQuSQcmlY
— Charles “Chux” Maranan (@ChuxMaranan) March 12, 2020
Power: Good. Thick frame packs a punch when paired with burst. Runs with low pad level and will initiate contact in short-yardage situations. A lot of his power comes from his lower body. Keeps legs churning forward for extra yards. Despite willingness to be physical, he isn’t a pile-pusher and he won’t overpower many defenders outside of cornerbacks and some safeties.
Contact Balance: Elite. His ability to stay on his feet through contact is nothing short of remarkable. Very slippery and wiggles through arm tackles as if he’s got butter on him. Will fight through tackle attempts at multiple angles, whether high or low. Uses a signature spin move when coming off contact that helps him maintain balance.
— A2D Radio (@a2dradio_com) March 11, 2020
Top-End Speed: Great. Once he finds space at the 2nd level, he can hit another gear to pull away from linebackers and defensive backs.
Ball Security: Adequate. Too careless with the ball. Needs to be more conscious of securing it when fighting for extra yards.
Receiving: Good. He has the requisite agility and explosiveness to create separation. More than reliable on check-downs and screens. Vision on screen plays is exceptional. Still needs some coaching in route running techniques and how to properly use leverage. Catches with his hands and away from his body but doesn’t have the softest or most natural hands. Transition from the catch point to establishing himself as a runner isn’t the smoothest. Double clutches when gathering the ball in.
Pass Blocking: Solid. Was asked to stay in and pass block a good amount at FSU. Isn’t shy about being physical with oncoming defenders. However, technique at the point of attack could use some work and be more consistent. Tends to stay upright and doesn’t engage with leverage or knee bend as often as you’d like. Attempts to use shoulder strike to disrupt the pass rusher’s path but doesn’t always connect with it. Awareness can be difficult to assess due to poor offensive line. Makes proper reads but will also end up doing too much by trying to help out on an unblocked defender.
Competitive Intangibles: Great. His relentlessness and persistence in difficult circumstances is impressive. Despite playing behind a bad offensive line he kept giving his all on every play. Isn’t afraid to be physical and dish out punishment.
Cam Akers, RB, Florida State:
• Electric feet in tight spaces (++)
• Behind the line miracle worker
• Underrated breakaway speed
• Understands how to finish runs (+)
• Best ball is ahead of him
• Extra armor to fend off contact (+)pic.twitter.com/5OiQk0sovX
— Jordan Reid (@JReidNFL) March 9, 2020
Pro Comparison: Alvin Kamara. He’s got more power than Kamara, but he’s not as good of a receiver as him.
Projection: Cam Akers has the requisite skill set to be a prototypical dual-threat RB in today’s NFL. Although he needs some work with his vision and decision making, a lot of his struggles can be attributed to the poor blocking in front of him. He’s shown flashes of the footwork and anticipation needed to excel in gap schemes. Furthermore, he’s shown the patience, widescreen vision, and burst to excel in zone schemes too. With proper coaching, he can be a very dangerous receiving threat out of the backfield. There is some risk that comes with drafting Akers, but his upside and potential are very high, possibly the highest out of any RB in this draft class.