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Cam Akers Is An Ideal Fit For A Zone Scheme (2020 NFL Draft)

by Mike Tagliere | @MikeTagliereNFL | Featured Writer
Mar 26, 2020

Cam Akers didn’t have the convenience of a stout offensive line in college

Cam Akers, Florida State

Height: 5’10”
Weight: 217 pounds
40-yard dash: 4.47 seconds
Vertical Jump: 35.5 inches
Broad Jump: 122.0 inches
3-Cone Drill: 4.42 seconds

There were several players who helped their stock at the NFL Combine and Akers was one of them, running a 4.47-second 40-yard dash at 217 pounds. There are mixed opinions on him from film buffs, as some say his combined 4.72 yards per carry is nowhere good enough, while others blame his offensive line for the struggles.

Stats can be misleading in college, as the team they play for dictates a lot of what happens. Akers played behind a below-average offensive line but was still able to rack up 18 touchdowns in 2019, though he did compile 261 touches in just 11 games. It should be noted that his production in the passing game (receptions, yards, and touchdowns) improved each year he was there.

Here’s my detailed scouting report on Cam Akers (ratings out of five stars):

Vision/Awareness

He’s a downhill runner who needs solid blocking in front of him, as he won’t deviate from the plan and create on his own very often. The offensive line wasn’t very good at Florida State and it caused him to develop bad habits. He can be guilty of trying to bounce runs outside too often, relying on his long speed rather than cutting up the field. He’s at his best when he’s moving downhill, as his one-cut ability would be perfect for a zone scheme.

RATING: ⭐⭐ 1/2

Elusiveness (twitch, juke, tackle-breaking)

He’s not an easy tackle but he’s also not someone who’s extremely elusive. You’re not going to stop him with an arm tackle with how hard he runs. Does a good job of keeping his pad level low when bracing for contact, though he is a bit up-and-down in his approach while running through lanes. Still, has good balance through contact. He has a little juke to his game but nothing that’ll make a defender consistently whiff in the open field. He’s a power runner who has a bit more juke than the average one his size.

RATING: ⭐⭐⭐ 1/2

Size/Speed

After seeing him run a 4.47-second 40-yard dash at the Combine, there’s little question about his long-speed, especially when you factor in that he weighs 217 pounds. He’s more of a momentum runner, as his start/stop is average. He doesn’t have that on-demand burst needed to sneak through a closing hole and it prevents him from big plays. He has solid size, not too big up top or in the bottom end. Can absorb a lot of hits with his frame.

RATING: ⭐⭐⭐ 1/2

Pass-catching/Pass Protection

Not someone you want to leave in pass-protection. Struggles to recognize the gaps quite often. He’s a heads-up blocker, though his awareness and aggressiveness need some work. There was a play where his blocking assignment fell right in front of him against Virginia, yet Akers allowed him to get up and then proceed to sack the quarterback. While pass-blocking for running backs is often overrated, he’s a legitimate liability. He’s more of a leak out into the flat receiver when the play breaks down. He can catch the ball just fine, but it’s not something a team will build around.

RATING: ⭐ 1/2

Versatility

He’s not going to fit into an offense that needs a three-down back right out of the gate, as his pass-protection is that bad. He projects as an early-down back, but if he doesn’t stop bouncing runs outside, he’s not going to be great in that role, either. Ideally, he lands in a team that implements a zone-heavy scheme that can allow him to one-cut up the field and hit the jets.

RATING: ⭐⭐ 1/2

Projected Draft Spot

After his impressive Combine, Akers is likely to be in the Round 3 conversation. At the worst, he’ll be off the board by the end of the fourth-round. The Titans can use some depth behind Derrick Henry and their offensive scheme would suit Akers’ skill-set well. Another team to watch is the Ravens, who may lose Gus Edwards in free agency.

NFL Comparison

While watching Akers, I was reminded of a player like Latavius Murray. He’s a bit up-and-down in his approach but knows how to lower his shoulders and square up the defender. He also has plenty of speed once he gets the wheels spinning. Not many realize Murray ran a 4.43-second 40-yard dash at 6-foot-2 and 223 pounds. I do believe Murray has more lateral ability to his game than Akers, but Akers should model his game after the Saints running back.

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Mike Tagliere is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Mike, check out his archive and follow him @MikeTagliereNFL.

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