2020 NFL Draft Profile: Strengths, weaknesses, best Fantasy fits for Cam Akers
Cam Akers had a good college career, but it could have been better if not for coaching changes, offensive line issues and fumbling drama. How might he fare in the NFL?
Cam Akers was one of the grand prizes of the 2016 recruiting class, named a five-star prospect from 247 Sports. After playing quarterback and running back for Clinton High School in Mississippi, he chose Florida State. That's where he set the freshman record for rushing yards (1,025), breaking Dalvin Cook's record. Akers barely missed any games in his three years with the Seminoles but struggled to thrive on teams with poor coaching and even worse offensive line play. Still, over 3,000 total yards in three seasons is nothing to sneeze at, especially given Akers' pedigree.
Numbers to Know
Height: 5-10 3/8
Weight: 217 pounds
DOB: June 22, 1999 (Week 1 age: 21)
Hand: 9 inches
Arm: 30 5/8 inches
Wingspan: 74 5/8 inches
40 time: 4.47 seconds
2019: 11 games, 231 carries, 1,144 yards (5.0 yards per carry), 14 touchdowns; 30 receptions, 225 receiving yards, four touchdowns
In three games against top-25 ranked competition, Akers had 44 carries for 214 yards (4.9 yards per carry) and a touchdown, adding five receptions for 11 yards and a receiving score. Notably, he had 34 rush yards on only nine carries at No. 2-ranked Clemson.
Career: 36 games, 586 carries, 2,875 yards (4.9 yards per carry), 27 touchdowns; 69 receptions, 486 yards, seven touchdowns
Known Injury History
played through ankle sprain, 2018
Akers is a well-built strider and cut-back king with good enough burst, acceleration and speed to frustrate defenses. He uses good processing of what's happening in front of him meshed with smooth jump cuts, balance and patience to find his way to open space and create yards. And he's plenty experienced — despite Florida State's terrible offensive line last year (ranked second-worst in the nation by Pro Football Focus), Akers ranked tied for eighth in the nation with 74 missed tackles forced and 12th in yards after contact.
Akers doesn't seem to have much of a learning curve when it comes to pass protection, proving to be a willing and often effective blocker. He's got the build for it, especially with a strong lower body. More importantly, he's a terrific pass-catcher, flashing good hands and a smooth catch-and-go transition to enhance his ability to rack up yards from scrimmage.
The number 10 looms large. Akers had 10 fumbles in three seasons at Florida State and 10 more in high school. If the trend continues into the pros, his playing time will surely suffer. Akers also had just 10 plays of 20-plus yards for the Noles last year. Granted, his O-line didn't do him any favors, but for all the make-you-miss potential he has, he didn't pull off as many big plays as one might have expected.
There were a handful of plays where Akers just didn't seem to pay attention. One such play was a pass blocking assignment — the defender he took on fell down and Akers stood over him ... as the defender crawled to the quarterback and sacked him. Another was when Akers turned around to the quarterback looking for a pass when the quarterback was running and needed a block. Inconsistent awareness could stunt his development.
Finally, two of Akers' three biggest games last season came against teams ranked lower than 100th in run defense last year (Syracuse and Louisville). He had 256 yards (22.4% of total rush yards) and half of his rushing touchdowns in those matchups.
Some people see Akers' patient and slashing approach and immediately think of Le'Veon Bell. Others see his size as similar to Kareem Hunt, but Hunt seems to be more physical (and Akers is faster). Both of those guys were awesome immediately because they landed in the right spot. Assuming he doesn't become "the guy" right away, an 800-yard, low-touchdown season could be envisioned as a stepping stone to a better second year like Aaron Jones and Austin Ekeler did in their careers.
Favorite Fantasy Fits
Akers has the potential to be a lead back in the NFL, but it's more likely he'll be part of a tandem, at least in 2020. That's okay, at least he'll play as either a passing-downs back like James White or as a share-the-load guy with another runner like Raheem Mostert. Kansas City and Detroit are appealing spots where his competition for playing time isn't very threatening. Obviously, it would be heavenly if he landed with Tampa Bay as the primary rusher.
Fantasy Bottom Line
We're just not going to know what Akers' Fantasy value is until he settles in with his pro team. But because the odds are against him becoming a lead back immediately, you can probably develop a pretty good idea of what to expect. He'd get drafted late in seasonal leagues as a bench running back, and probably in those middle-late rounds in long-term formats. As for rookie-only drafts, Akers will get looks starting as soon as seventh overall, but could slide into early Round 2. Call him a top-15 pick.
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