2015 NFL DRAFT
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Akeem Ayers

| | College: UCLA
 
Copyright NFLDraftScout.com, distributed by The Sports Xchange
Overview

A defensive end, linebacker and wide receiver at Verbum Dei High School, the Los Angeles native redshirted his freshman season with the Bruins as the excellent overall athlete worked in the weight room to be able to hold up at the college level.

Ayers started three games at strong-side linebacker in 2008 and played in 12 contests overall, earning honorable mention All-Pac-10 honors and being named to the conference's All-Freshman team.

He again earned honorable mention Pac-10 honors as a sophomore while showing a knack for creating big plays. Ayers tied a school record with two touchdowns off interception returns and scored three defensive touchdowns overall. He foreshadowed what was to come with 30 tackles, including 4.0 sacks and 9.5 tackles for loss, along with three interceptions over the final four games of the season.

Ayers built on that effort with a junior season that would include becoming a Butkus Award finalist. He started all 12 games and finished with 68 tackles, 4.0 sacks, 10.0 tackles for loss and a pair of interceptions. He earned first-team All-Pac-10 and second-team All-America honors from the Walter Camp Football Foundation.

While Ayers is athletic and will be valued for his versatility, questions remain about his straight-line speed. As an early entrant in this year's draft, he wasn't able to participate in the Senior Bowl. Finally able to work out in front of scouts at the scouting combine, Ayers posted a very disappointing 4.81-second 40-yard dash.

That places heightened importance on Ayers' March 29 pro day. One of his strengths is his burst off the snap as a standup or hand-down rusher, but his 40 time raises concerns about his ability to provide effective pressure off the edge.

If Ayers can't convince teams that he can be a speed rusher and track fast running backs to the sideline, he could potentially move inside in a 3-4 scheme where he won't be required to run all over the field.

Analysis

Read & React: Average instincts and is prone to biting on play-action and taking false steps on the reverse. Possesses rare agility and straight-line speed for the position, typically allowing him to make the play.

Run defense: Has size, strength and willingness to take on blockers at the point of attack. Seems to enjoy the physicality of the game, showing good upper-body strength and quick, active hands to quickly shed blocks. Unselfish defender that typically maintains gap discipline.

Pass defense: Can be fooled by play-action but is surprisingly fluid in coverage for a big linebacker. Relies too much on reading the eyes of the quarterback in coverage. Has proven to be a playmaker, but could be fooled by savvy passers at the next level. Good ball skills. Has six career interceptions, returning two for touchdowns.

Tackling: Generally a reliable tackler, leading with his shoulder or getting too high going for the highlight-reel hit and bouncing off the ballcarrier. Can improve as a wrap-up tackler. Can get a bit out of control when pursuing laterally and overrun the play, but is so long and athletic, he's usually able to trip up the ballcarrier to prevent cutback opportunities. Good effort laterally and downfield in pursuit. Good strength for the drag-down tackle. Brings his hips as a tackler, creating explosive hits to force the ball out. Has seven forced fumbles in three seasons.

Pass Rush/Blitz: One of Ayers' better areas. Good burst off the snap as a standup and hand-down rusher. Capable of crossing the face of the tackle with his explosiveness and possesses good flexibility and balance to scrape the corner and close quickly. Relies on his speed to rush the passer, showing little in terms of true pass rush technique, at this point.

Intangibles: Redshirted in 2007. Arrived at UCLA and was known as a prankster, but has matured into a team leader, according to those close to the program. Voted a team captain in 2010. Has played in all 37 games of his career … History major who earned a spot on the Honor Roll in 2007.

Compares to: D.J. Williams, Broncos - With excellent size and athleticism, Ayers could excel outside or inside in a 3-4 or 4-3 scheme if he proves to have adequate instincts at the next level.

--Rob Rang

2010 Season

Season captain … Earned second-team All-America honors from the Walter Camp Football Foundation … One of five Butkus Award finalists (he finished third in voting) … Third-team Associated Press All-American … Second-team Phil Steele All-American … First-team All-Pac-10 selection … Lott IMPACT Trophy quarterfinalist … Phil Steele Mid-Season All-American … Listed on the Nagurski Trophy, Bednarik Award and Rotary Lombardi Award pre-season watch lists … Named defensive co-winner of UCLA's Henry R. "Red" Sanders for Most Valuable Player … Started all 12 games … Fourth on the team with 68 tackles, first (tied) with 4.0 sacks, second with 10.0 tackles for loss and second (tied) with two interceptions … T-24th in the Pac-10 in tackles (5.67), T-14th in interceptions (0.17), T-14th in fumbles forced (0.17), T-eighth in fumbles recovered (0.17), T-16th in tackles for loss (0.83) and T-20th in sacks (0.33).

Recorded a career-high 11 tackles, including a sack in the opener at Kansas State … Also recovered a fumble and tipped a pass … Made seven tackles, 0.5 for loss, and broke up a pass, against Stanford … Made five tackles, two for loss, against Houston … Also intercepted a pass at the goal line and returned it 77 yards late in the first half … Playing both linebacker and end at Texas, he was credited with six tackles, including a sack and a second stop for loss … Caused a Longhorn fumble with his sack and made his second interception of the year … Collected four tackles against Washington State, including a sack, on which he forced and recovered a fumble on WSU's final possession … Made three stops and broke up a pass at Cal … Credited with five stops, 0.5 tackles for loss at Oregon … Made four tackles against Arizona … Totaled six tackles, including one sack and a second stop for loss, against Oregon State … Tied for team-high honors at Washington with eight tackles, including 0.5 for loss … Recorded six tackles at Arizona State … Made three tackles, including 0.5 tackles for loss, against USC.

2009 Season

Started all 13 games at strongside linebacker … Named honorable mention All-Pac-10 … First-team Sophomore All-America selection by CollegeFootballNews.com … Tied a UCLA season record with two touchdowns on interceptions and scored three defensive touchdowns in all (one fumble return) … Led the team with four forced fumbles (T-3rd in Pac-10) … Second on the team with 6.0 sacks (T-10th in Pac-10) and 14.5 tackles for loss (5th in Pac-10) … In his final four games of the season, Ayers made 30 tackles, including 4.0 sacks and 9.5 tackles for loss, three interceptions (returned one for a touchdown) and returned a fumble for a touchdown … Opened the year with two tackles versus San Diego St. … Had three stops at Tennessee … Made five tackles at Kansas St., 2.0 sacks and a third tackle for loss.

Totaled seven tackles at Stanford; forced and recovered a fumble which led to a field goal … Made a leaping interception in the end zone for a touchdown and was credited with four tackles against Oregon … Four tackles vs. Cal … Tied for the team lead with eight stops, one for loss, at Arizona and tipped a lateral that resulted in a touchdown return by safety Tony Dye … Eight tackles, one for loss, at Oregon St. … Made four tackles versus Washington … Made interceptions on WSU's first and third possessions, setting up a pair of Bruin touchdowns … Credited with two tackles for loss and made four tackles against the Cougars, while earning his first Pac-10 Player of the Week accolades … Led team with eight tackles against Arizona St., including two sacks, and a third tackle for loss … Returned a fumble for a touchdown and forced two fumbles during the contest … Established a new career-best with nine tackles against USC, including 2.5 for loss … Led the team with nine stops in the bowl win over Temple … Scored his third touchdown of the season when he intercepted a pass at the two-yard line and ran it in to give the Bruins the lead with 6:01 remaining in the game … Named co-defensive winner of UCLA's Captain Don Brown Memorial Award for Most Improved Player.

2008 Season

Appeared in 12 games with three starts at strongside linebacker (BYU, Oregon, Oregon St.) … Named to rivals.com Pac-10 All-Freshman team … Earned honorable mention All-Pac-10 from the league's coaches … Was the defensive co-winner of UCLA's John Boncheff, Jr. Memorial Award for Rookie of the Year … Tied for 19th in the Pac-10 in sacks (0.3) … Saw his first career action on special teams vs. Tennessee … Was credited with one tackle and a punt block which was returned for a touchdown … Started at BYU and made five tackles … Made three stops vs. Arizona in nickel situations … Made three tackles vs. Fresno St., including an 11-yard sack … Three stops vs. WSU … Started at Oregon and made six tackles, including a 12-yard sack … Made four stops, one for loss, vs. Stanford … Also had four stops vs. Oregon St. … Made two tackles at Washington, both sacks, one of which caused a fumble … One tackle at ASU … Credited with six tackles against USC.

2007 Season

Redshirted.

Agility Tests

Combine: 4.81 40-yard dash; 18 bench reps at 225 pounds; 9'8" broad jump; 31-inch vertical; 4.28 short shuttle; 7.49 3-cone drill.

High School

Lettered three seasons at Verbum Dei HS in Los Angeles for coach Kendrick Knox … Played defensive end, linebacker and wide receiver … PrepStar All-American … SuperPrep All-American … Ranked No. 16 defensive lineman in nation by SuperPrep … Rated No. 9 player in California by SuperPrep … Named four-star recruit as a DE by rivals.com and scout.com … Rated No. 50 player in nation by scout.com … Rated No. 1 DE and No. 9 player in California by scout.com … Ranked No. 9 among outside linebackers by rivals.com … Ranked No. 24 performer in California by rivals.com … Rated No. 12 among defensive ends by scout.com … Rated No. 24 DE by ESPN.com … Ranked No. 3 California OLB by rivals.com … Member of Tacoma News Tribune Western 100 … Member of Long Beach Press-Telegram Best in the West first team … Named first-team All-State (Small Schools) by CalHi Sports … CIF-SS Mid Valley Defensive Player of the Year … Led Verbum Dei to CIF Mid-Valley title … As an outside linebacker, he made 94 tackles (79 solos), including 22 versus Temple City … Made two quarterback sacks … Totaled 21 receptions for 413 yards (19.7 average) and nine touchdowns on offense … Returned 20 kickoffs for 626 yards … As a junior, made CalHi Sports All-State (Small Schools) first team and All-CIF-SS Division XI first team … Made 116 tackles, 23 sacks, 15 other tackles for loss, an interception and five fumble recoveries … On offense, made 19 receptions for 441 yards (23.2 average) and seven touchdowns … As a sophomore, he was credited with 87 tackles, 18 sacks and two blocked punts … On offense, he caught four passes for 132 yards.

Personal

Full Name: Akeem Christopher Ayers … Born: July 10, 1989 in Los Angeles, CA … Parent: Latonya King … Has one brother, Kevin, and one sister, Jonnoe … Biggest thrill was winning CIF championship as a senior … Hobbies include art and basketball.

 
 
Latest News
04/04/2011 - Top linebacker prospects: 2. *Akeem Ayers, UCLA, 6-3, 254, 1-2 There's a fine line between being a versatile athlete and being ill-fitted for multiple positions. Ayers flashed big-play ability as a sophomore with 14.5 tackles for loss, six sacks, four interceptions and two forced fumbles, and he improved his consistency in 2010 (career-high 68 tackles, including 10 tackles for loss, four sacks, two interceptions and two forced fumbles). While Ayers is athletic, his 4.81 40 at the combine showed he might lack the speed to be an edge-rushing linebacker and chase speed backs to the sideline. He lacks great instincts, but he does maintain gap discipline and enjoys the physical nature of playing linebacker, so he could ultimately prove to be a good fit inside in a 3-4. - Jeff Reynolds, The Sports Xchange

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