There are bigger, faster backs with more yards on the resume. But few are self-made men like Cam Akers.
Akers averaged 4.9 yards per carry in 2019 as a junior at Florida State but 3.9 yards was generated after contact, according to Pro Football Focus. That stat doesn’t reflect kindly on the Seminoles’ offensive line, but it does speak volumes about Akers’ desire to generate a push between the tackles as well as the capability to break arm tackles in the open field.
FSU didn’t have productive seasons during Akers’ time – going a combined 18-19, not counting a Sun Bowl loss in which he didn’t play – but he produced a pair of 1,000-yard rushing seasons and bounced back from a frustrating sophomore year in which an ankle injury limited him.
“When you talk about adversity, you saw him face it firsthand for three years in a row,” Akers’ high school coach, Judd Boswell, told the Osceola. “He never blinked an eye. I don’t think he ever said a bad word about it. He just kept his head down and kept working. He’s a freak athlete but he’s going to put the time in. He’s going to be successful somewhere because of his work ethic.”
Boswell talked to a few NFL teams by phone and said a couple more sent investigators to Clinton, Miss., unannounced before restrictions were put on team personnel prior to the shut down of games, pro days and private workouts.
Now all that’s left is to wait and see. It’s all fun and games until the NFL Draft begins on Thursday night with the first round before continuing with rounds two and three on Friday as well as rounds 4-7 on Saturday. Akers likely won’t go in the first round but a few mock drafts have him going in the second and third round.
Here is a sampling of where draft analysts have Akers being taken:
NFL.com has Akers going the highest of the five mock drafts, at No. 49 overall to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
TheAthletic.com‘s Dane Brugler views Akers as the No. 5 running back in the draft and gives him a second-third round grade. He has Akers going at No. 72 overall to the Arizona Cardinals. “Akers would be a higher ranked prospect with better vision or run compass, but he is a physically impressive athlete with the shifty moves and toughness to create yardage, projecting as a souped up version of Duke Johnson in the NFL,” Brugler writes.
Pro Football Focus projects Akers as a third-round pick at No. 78 overall to the Atlanta Falcons.
Akers slides a little lower to the Buffalo Bills at No. 86 overall in CBSSports.com‘s mock. “The Bills aren’t afraid to add talent at running back and Akers has the talent to take over as the lead back early on. He was miscast on a really bad Florida State offense, but what he can do independent of his supporting cast is very impressive.”
Last, USAToday.com has Akers sliding to the LA Rams at 104 overall.
If you want a good 3-minute, 25-second football fix of Akers highlights, this will do it: