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    RockinRam's Avatar
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    Calling fellow draftniks: Akeem Ayers

    I think it will be fun to have a forum-wide scouting thread on different players that we might consider for our first round pick. So I'll start off with the first prospect that I am interested in currently.

    Akeem Ayers UCLA OLB 6'4, 255lbs


    So recently I've been watching some tape of Akeem Ayers to see what the hype is all about.

    I read multiple scouting reports on him and he sounds like a very intriguing prospect at #14.

    Then I watched some tape and he didn't really impress me as much as I wanted him to.

    Pros
    : Lanky, rangy linebacker who can cover sideline to sideline. He is big and physical, and can take on blockers pretty well. Is a great athlete, and can efficiently blitz the QB.


    Cons: Doesn't diagnose plays very well, isn't a fast reactor. He isn't as aggressive as I'd like, and he doesn't have natural instincts like Laurinaitis. He doesn't tackle very well, a lot of times he will try to arm tackle or body tackle, instead of wrapping up and driving with the hip/legs. Man coverage is a question mark.



    I'll need to watch more tape of him, but currently I would give him a ranking of: 83 (out of 100)

    As for rankings, for example A.J Green would probably be 97.



    Feel free to add more analysis, opinions, scouting reports, etc. I'm calling all draftniks!




  2. #2
    Nick's Avatar
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    Re: Calling fellow draftniks: Akeem Ayers

    You bring up some very good points. I've heard the criticism before for Ayers that he isn't as instinctual or aggressive as you'd like. Then again, you watch his pick six against Temple from a couple years back, and those are some decent instincts. I think that's an area where a player can improve, though he may never become a rabid monster in the aggression department. Still, I think he brings a lot of very good qualities to the table.

    You can't overlook his size. 6'4" and 250+ is great. I'm very anxious to see how he looks in workouts, both in terms of speed and fluidity. From what I've been able to see of him on the field, he's looked good but not great in these areas. Might have some problems covering more athletic tight ends in a man to man assignment. But I believe his zone coverage skills are good, and I like what he's able to do as a blitzer. Since Spags likes to run these fire zone blitz plays where he's mixing up who is coming and who is dropping into coverage, I think Ayers would operate nicely in that assignment.

    I've had Ayers in a couple different places in my projections, as I think I'm a bit higher on him than some. But he appears to be a guy who is kind of slotted into the latter half of the first round. If he can work out well and impress this offseason, I think you can make a case for him at our pick (#14), assuming a better more dynamic option at another position of need isn't available.

  3. #3
    r8rh8rmike's Avatar
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    Re: Calling fellow draftniks: Akeem Ayers

    As a die-hard UCLA fan who watches every game, I can say Ayers is a disrupter and a force that has the innate ability to make big, game changing plays on a regular basis. He can blow up the running game, is effective in coverage, creates fumbles, has good reactions and ball skills to make interceptions, gets to the QB and when he gets his hands on the ball, he scores. My only con would be he needs to improve his tackling ability. I'd be thrilled to get him.

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    RockinRam's Avatar
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    Re: Calling fellow draftniks: Akeem Ayers

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick View Post
    You bring up some very good points. I've heard the criticism before for Ayers that he isn't as instinctual or aggressive as you'd like. Then again, you watch his pick six against Temple from a couple years back, and those are some decent instincts. I think that's an area where a player can improve, though he may never become a rabid monster in the aggression department. Still, I think he brings a lot of very good qualities to the table.

    You can't overlook his size. 6'4" and 250+ is great. I'm very anxious to see how he looks in workouts, both in terms of speed and fluidity. From what I've been able to see of him on the field, he's looked good but not great in these areas. Might have some problems covering more athletic tight ends in a man to man assignment. But I believe his zone coverage skills are good, and I like what he's able to do as a blitzer. Since Spags likes to run these fire zone blitz plays where he's mixing up who is coming and who is dropping into coverage, I think Ayers would operate nicely in that assignment.

    I've had Ayers in a couple different places in my projections, as I think I'm a bit higher on him than some. But he appears to be a guy who is kind of slotted into the latter half of the first round. If he can work out well and impress this offseason, I think you can make a case for him at our pick (#14), assuming a better more dynamic option at another position of need isn't available.
    I think Ayers would be a solid blitzer, as he has good size and speed combo to be effective. He does have good size, but he looks more lanky like a young TE than a solid-built linebacker.

    I think he would fit well in our scheme, and would improve a lot under Spags and Flajole. The major question is though, does he warrant a #14 draft pick? If he does, then I say we pull the trigger depending on how the WRs in the draft are doing, and if we addressed the position or not during FA.


    Quote Originally Posted by r8rh8rmike View Post
    As a die-hard UCLA fan who watches every game, I can say Ayers is a disrupter and a force that has the innate ability to make big, game changing plays on a regular basis. He can blow up the running game, is effective in coverage, creates fumbles, has good reactions and ball skills to make interceptions, gets to the QB and when he gets his hands on the ball, he scores. My only con would be he needs to improve his tackling ability. I'd be thrilled to get him.
    Since you watch more UCLA games than me, I trust your judgement. He does sound pretty good here. One of the knocks I have on him though is that although he has great size, he doesn't take full advantage of it while tackling, which is kind of frustrating, but I think he will improve on this.

  5. #5
    r8rh8rmike's Avatar
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    Re: Calling fellow draftniks: Akeem Ayers

    Quote Originally Posted by RockinRam View Post
    Since you watch more UCLA games than me, I trust your judgement. He does sound pretty good here. One of the knocks I have on him though is that although he has great size, he doesn't take full advantage of it while tackling, which is kind of frustrating, but I think he will improve on this.
    You're spot on there. He's so aggresive he regularly flies off ball carriers and doesn't always wrap up well. But as a play maker, he is unbelievable. He dropped off a bit this year because he had less help around him, but last year when he had support, his stat line was insane, including 2 INT returns for TD's and a fumble recovery for a TD. He's smart too, an honor roll student.

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    Re: Calling fellow draftniks: Akeem Ayers

    I was surfing through the web and found this small article about players who might not go as high in the draft as they think, Ayers was one of them. Heres what they said...

    Ayers has been hyped as an elite player since he arrived at UCLA but has shown only flashes of being such an NFL prospect. Ayers (6-3, 258) is a lanky straight-line player who struggles to changes directions in coverage. He does have elite speed to chase down ballcarriers in pursuit and flashes an explosive closing burst to deliver violent hits.
    He was an inconsistent player in college, and he must improve his all-around game to become an NFL starter. He must have a great performance at the NFL Scouting Combine to overcome concerns about his lack of athleticism and be a high pick. Projection: Third- or fourth-round pick.

    I have no opinions on the guy, im not a draft expert nor have I watched any film of him. Just thought id share it.


  7. #7
    Nick's Avatar
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    Re: Calling fellow draftniks: Akeem Ayers

    Quote Originally Posted by Bing69 View Post
    Projection: Third- or fourth-round pick.
    We've seen linebackers slip before, so it wouldn't shock me to see Ayers go lower than expected. But third or fourth round would be rather surprising. I'd read where he received a first or second round grade from the draft advisory committee. His workouts IMO will be critical for him, since speed and change of direction seem to be question marks that are brought up most often.

  8. #8
    laram0's Avatar
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    Re: Calling fellow draftniks: Akeem Ayers

    Well now this is some valuable information for the person doing the PAC 10 Prospect Board.

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