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Could FSU running back Cam Akers be a draft value?
The 2020 NFL Draft is a rich one for wide receivers. There are not only very talented players at the top of the draft, but also an incredible depth of players who should be significant contributors, if not starters.
Unfortunately, it isn’t nearly so talented at the other offensive skill positions. This is not nearly as good a year for a team to be in need of a tight end. It is a better year for running backs, but still not nearly as good as the receiving class. But that could work out for teams looking for running backs. If the New York Giants want to add a running back to their roster, a draft board that is top-heavy in receivers could push more talented runners down to later rounds.
Florida State running back Cam Akers has a versatile skill set, is coming off of a productive season, and could be an intriguing option if the Giants want a player to spell Saquon Barkley with a similar style of play.
Prospect: Cam Akers (RB, Florida State)
Games Watched: vs. Boise State (2019), vs. Virginia (2019), vs. North Carolina State (2019), vs. Florida (2019)
Red Flags: Toe (2019)
Height: 5110 (5-feet, 11 inches)
Weight: 212 pounds
Games Played: 36
Carries (YPC): 586 (4.90 per carry)
Receptions (yards/ypc): 69 (486 yards, 7.0 per catch)
Total Touchdowns (rushing/receiving): 34 (27 rushing, 7 receiving)
231 carries, 1,144 yards (4.95 per carry), 14 touchdowns
30 receptions, 225 yards (7.5 per catch), 4 touchdowns
Best: Contact balance, competitive toughness, cutback, receiving
Worst: Pass protection
Projection: A rotation running back in an offense that uses zone blocking schemes and running backs as receivers in scat protection.
Florida State running back Cam Akers is an average sized running back with good versatility to produce in both the running and passing games.
Akers played out of multiple alignments for Florida State, lining up beside the quarterback in the shotgun, behind the quarterback in the pistol, and in the slot as a receiver. Akers shows good patience behind the line of scrimmage, giving his linemen time to establish their blocks before accelerating. He shows good vision as well, identifying cutback lanes and quickly identifying defenders as they flash toward holes. Akers has good short-area quickness and agility to make defenders miss in close quarters as well as to redirect toward a cutback lane. He shows good burst through the hole when running between the tackles and enough speed to get the edge when running off tackle. Akers runs with very good tempo and uses variations in his speed to disrupt defenders’ angles and force poor tackle attempts. Akers has very good contact balance, widening his stride and showing the ability to shrug off shoulder checks and run through tackle attempts. He also shows good strength while running to keep from going down and ward off potential tacklers with a good stiff arm.
Akers is a reliable receiving option out of the backfield. He shows good ball skills, extending to catch the ball away from his frame and wastes little time getting downfield when he is a check-down option.
Akers is a poor pass protector, despite frequently being asked to block for his quarterback. Akers shows poor technique and play strength as a pass protector, as well as a lack of awareness of the defense and a lack of comfort when staying in to block. Akers shows good competitive toughness while running, but little when blocking. Teams will also want to check his medicals after he suffered a toe injury against Boston College.
Overall Grade: 3.9 – A player with several above average traits but weighed down by a big limitation
Cam Akers projects best into a zone blocking scheme that will allow him to use his vision, agility, burst, and tempo as a runner. He should be used in a rotation with another back, particularly one that is adept at pass protection. Akers has receiving upside and would be best in a scheme which uses running backs as receivers in space.
Akers is a good running back and should be a productive runner with upside as a pass catcher, but his inability to pass protect could keep him off the field. His ability with the ball in his hands will be enough to make teams want to work with him, and his toughness as a runner suggests that he has upside as a pass protector. But for now, Akers might find snaps hard to find in a traditional offense. He would have more immediate value for a team that is comfortable using scat protection and consistently using their running back as a check-down option rather than a blocker.