Cam Akers, RB Florida State
Height: 5’10 3/8″
Arm: 30 5/8″
NFL Comparison: Jay Ajayi, Joseph Addai, Marshawn Lynch
– overcame horrible blocking and a bad offensive cast to be very productive
– can clearly create on his own
– good functional agility
– instinctive navigation through line of scrimmage
– shed-ability through hips on inside runs- young (will not turn 21 until late June 2020)
– good straight-line speed
– ex-QB, smart player you want to get the ball to- excellent size and frame
– solid in pass pro, seems to understand protections
– drops too many passes
– questionable open-field vision
– runs to contact at second-level
– average overall athleticism
– bounces out to the edges too often
– 6 fumbles over final two seasons
2019 Team Market Share Numbers
49% team rush attempts
11% team receptions
25% team offensive yards
38% team offensive TDs
Scouting Evaluation: The stat that tells the story more than any for Cam Akers in 2019 is this one from PFF: He gained an average of 3.9 of his 4.9 yards per carry after contact. With how bad the Seminoles offensive line was, it is hard to know whether Akers’ propensity to bounce runs to the outside comes from some natural inclination to do so or because he was often having to avoid would-be tacklers at varying depths of the offensive backfield. It’s clear that he’s a really good college football player from a historic RB factory at FSU. He gets up to speed quicker than you’d anticipate in navigating all those bodies and shows excellent acceleration to start plays, but his second-level vision is bad and he runs to contact in the mold of Marshawn Lynch or Terrance West.
He’s not a natural catcher of the football and it’s hard to know really how much that can be worked on or curtailed at the NFL level. Some of his receptions look awkward when he does haul them in, and despite having a producing 11% share of FSU’s receptions in 2019 (30 in all), PFF dinged him for 5 drops on 35 catchable targets. He was definitely a three-down workhorse in college though, so he’s filled the role before. He’s an ex-QB and a smart player who was clearly the guy his team wanted to get the football in college. Six fumbles over his final two seasons could be a concern, but Jonathan Taylor also had a fumbling problem himself.
Fantasy Outlook: Akers is a smart, good football player with the requisite abilities and attributes to thrive in the NFL if given volume, especially if used in a three-down role — a role his eventual NFL team could certainly envision him playing based on his massive usage in college. However, we do need to see whether or not some of the concerning characteristics of his game were due to being throttled by the offense or whether they were simply characteristics of his game. A bug vs. feature dichotomy.
As things stand, he represents a tier of player in dynasty rookie drafts that we should consider the “bridge” from the upper crust (Taylor, Swift, Dobbins) to the lower levels, and exists in this tier with Clyde Edwards-Hellaire and, at least in the eyes of our own Byron Lambert, Ke’Shawn Vaughn. Akers is likely to go in the Top 7 to 8 picks of pre-NFL draft 1QB dynasty rookie drafts and his value from there will be dependent on his landing spot. If going to the right system and situation, his value could skyrocket. He’s a player you should be exciting about rostering and thinking very hard about if you’re picking in the middle of round 1 in your rookie draft.
Ranked fifth in program history with 586 rushing attempts…2,874 rushing yards and 11 100-yard games were sixth on FSU’s all-time lists…206 points scored was sixth-highest total among non-kickers…34 touchdowns tied for sixth in program history…27 rushing touchdowns ranked seventh at FSU…ranked 12th all-time at FSU with 3,375 all-purpose yards…third Seminole in program history with multiple 1,000-yard rushing seasons, joining Warrick Dunn and Dalvin Cook.
Quotable From the Combine
(Describe type of RB)
Just an all-around running back. Somebody’s who’s, of course, able to run the ball but another important aspect of running back is being able to block also. I just think I’m a complete back from catching to blocking to running.
(Where did receiving skills come from)
I’ve always been a willing receiver. I do a lot of studying of other backs in the league and my peers who also do the job well receiving. I take a lot of notes and pick up a lot from that.
(Talk with Dalvin Cook)
I definitely watch Zeke as far as an all-around back, being able to catch, run and block. And Alvin Kamara definitely in the passing game, the way he’s elusive when he gets the ball in his hands.
(Informal contact with Atlanta)
I think I have a formal set up on Thursday
That they’re very interested in me and they want to see me perform well on the field.
(Played a lot of positions in high school; beneficial?)
It taught me how to be versatile, especially playing quarterback and a little bit of defense. Just taught me to be versatile and whatever position you’re put in to make it work.
(Dealing with your mom’s situation)
It just taught me to never complain. Seeing my mom go through breast cancer – she’s a survivor now – but her going through breast cancer taught me there’s not much to complain about in life, seeing her fight and knowing it was for her children. She said that all the time. It made me a fighter.
(How old were you)
It wasn’t recent. I was younger, 11 or 12.
Informal interview with Tampa Bay
(What did Bucs say)
They like my game a lot. They like that I’m a hard-nosed back. I can be the aggressor and I can be elusive when I need to be. They like me as an all-around back, being able to block and being a three-down back.
(Like to stay in Florida)
I’d love to.
(Talk to mom before Combine)
She just told me to be me. Be confident, know who I am and just stand on that. Be the young man that I am and be confident with that.
(Spoken to Jameis Winston)
I have spoken to him before but (not recently). I think Jameis is a great quarterback. Had a rough year this last year, but I know he will bounce back. He’s a Seminole and a fighter and that’s what we do.
(Be in same backfield with him)
Man that would be a blessing just to be able to play alongside Jameis. That would be a fun experience and something I would definitely take advantage of.
(NFL comparison again)
I definitely watch Zeke, an all-around back being back to block, catch and run. Specifically in the passing game I watch Alvin Kamara.
(What do you like about Zeke)
His ability to do everything, be an all-around back. Run, catch, block, whatever it may be, he does at a high level.
(What goes into being a top blocker)
You can’t play in this league if you can’t block, and I learned that early in college. I have a good understanding of that and I know that’s something I’ve got to be sharp on.
(Always at a size disadvantage)
You’ve got to want to be the aggressor. You’ve gotta want to be a dog. And at that position you’ve got to be a dog no matter what you’re doing.
(What do teams want to see from you)
A lot of teams have a question about my speed. I’ll be clearing that up Friday (laughed).
(Playing in 8th grade and got dehydrated and refused to go to hospital)
I was real dehydrated and was throwing up while I was running. Everybody wanted to take me to the hospital but I felt the need the finish the game. I knew I could. I knew my body. I finished the game.
It’s not life or death, but you’ve got to look at it that way. You never know when it’s going to be your last so you have to take advantage of every moment you have.
I’m a competitor. An ultimate competitor.
(How’d the game go)
I did good. After that happened I came back and ran another 80-yard touchdown two plays later. Having God on my side and the work ethtic and the will to win, I just kept going.
I came out, took some PowerAde, water, had some mustard and I went back in three plays later and ran for a touchdown again.
(What did mom say)
Go to the hospital.
(Disobeyed your mom?)
(Mom – Angela Neal)
(Important to separate yourself from other RBs at Combine)
It’s an opportunity to prove myself, to clear up any questions that I have about me, to just reassure myself who I am.
(Speed; what do you plan on running)
I’ll run a 4.4. Better than 4.4, that’s my target.
(unofficial talk with Bears)
(What happened at Florida State)
I say it’s all God’s plan. You can’t question it. You play the cards you’re dealt. When you start to question God that’s when the situation you’re in becomes a reality. I never question God. I always stay true to my faith. I keep working.