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Monday, March 7, 2011

Akeem Ayers Scouting Report

Akeem Ayers, OLB, UCLA, 6’3 254 lbs


Strengths: A smooth and fluid athlete, Ayers has extreme potential and talent.  At 6’3 254 lbs he is loose in his hips, fluid in coverage, and gets into pass drops fast. Works well in man coverage, especially against tailbacks. Akeem has incredible range for a linebacker, flying across the field to the football when its in the air, and boasts the best ball skills in the entire linebacker class of 2011. Akeem Ayers is your ideal sam linebacker in a 43 scheme. 

Akeem Ayers definitely passes the eye test for being an NFL linebacker; a big, physical specimen, Ayers has 33-inch arms. Ayers utilizes these long arms and quick feet to keep blockers off of him, and uses his great closing burst to get to the ballcarrier. Ayers has the build and the pass rush ability to also be very intriguing as a 34 pass rushing outside linebacker. 

Although he ran in the 4.8s at the combine, Ayers excelled in the positional drills. He showed his lateral agility, quick feet, and overall smooth body control. Ayers plays with good on field speed, and combined with his size and length he poses tremendous upside.

Weaknesses: Lacks the strength needed to be strong against the run, Ayers really needs to improve on his run fitting and his overall effort. He doesn’t scrape downhill aggressively and can be noted as playing passively at times.

Gets caught with his eyes in the backfield way too often, and lacks proper footwork in his “read-steps”. His feet put him out of position and he cant help on the play. This footwork also gets him into trouble when playing man coverage on the Y or tight end.


Best Fit: Ayers’ best fit in my opinion is at sam backer in a 43 scheme. The sam, or strong side backer, is required to lock up with the opposing tight end in man calls and cover a lot of ground in zone coverages. The sam backer is also the backer most utilized in stunts and blitzes, and therefore perfectly suits Ayers' two biggest strengths- pass coverage and pass rush.

His ability in pass coverage, will make him very appealing on draft day. In a pass happy league, you either have to run a lot of nickel packages or have linebackers that can get out and make a difference in pass coverage.

X-Factor: Ayers could be getting serious looks from 34 teams in need of a pass rush threat, so how much could that help his draft stock?

I personally think that because the draft is so weak at the 43 OLB position, Ayers’ draft stock will end up becoming inflated.

Where will he be drafted: Mid First to Early Second Round

Where should he be drafted: Second Round

NFL Comparison: Karlos Dansby, LB, Miami Dolphins

Akeem Ayers vs Temple (09)

Akeem Ayers vs Stanford (10)

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