15

April

Packers Prospect Profile — OLB Akeem Ayers, UCLA

1. Profile

Akeem Ayers

College: UCLA

Position: Outside Linebacker

Height: 6’4”    Weight: 255 lbs

Birthdate: July 10, 1989    Hometown: Los Angeles, CA

2. High School/College highlights:

In high school Ayers was named a Super Prep All American and was chosen as a four-star recruit at defensive end by scouts.com and rivals.com .  Also played on offense in high school catching four passes for 132 yards.  At UCLA, he was named honorable mention All-Pac-10 in 2009 and placed third in voting for the Dick Butkus award honoring college football’s best linebacker in 2010.  Ayers also was a team captain in 2010 and finished as a second team All-American.

3. College stats: After three seasons: 183 tackles, 14.5 sacks, 29.5 tackles for a loss and six interceptions

4. NFL Scouting Combine results:  4.81 40 yard dash, 7.49 three cone drill, 4.28 20 yard shuttle, 18.0 bench press, 31.0 vertical jump, 116 broad jump.

5. Strengths/Weaknesses: Ayers plays a very fast brand of football, as can be seen in his 40 time despite his size.   He has a very good burst and is an excellent pass rusher.  As a rookie, he would bring immediate impact to any team looking to significantly improve its blitzing ability.   He also has strong intangibles and was very honest about where he needed to improve during interviews at the NFL Combine.    College players that enter the NFL not expecting to light the world on fire right away often have a higher success rate than those who think they will take over the league in their first year.

On the down side, there are concerns with Ayers’ lower body.  With a smaller body mass in his legs, Ayers is forced to tackle high and that could be a problem when it comes to stopping NFL backs.    He developed a reputation in college as more of a pass rushing specialist so it will more than likely take time for him to acclimate to the running game in the NFL.    There also are some doubts about his ability to learn complex defensive schemes.  His performance at UCLA dropped off in 2010 slightly, leading to questions that once he was figured out he had a hard time adapting to working around some double teams.

6. Fit for the Packers: While he definitely would not be a reach of Justin Harrell proportions, the possibility of Ayers being drafted by the Green Bay Packers is doubtful at best.  One reason for that is the Packers have not decided what to do with Nick Barnett and some of the other linebackers yet and can’t do anything period roster-wise until the NFL ends its lockout of current players.

Still, Dom Capers did wonders with players taken off the street and could perhaps find a diamond in the rough in Ayers.  Capers could easily find use for Ayers’ pass rushing ability and have him hone his run stopping skills behind other players.  That’s the true beauty of the scheme Capers and his staff have installed: you can utilize young players’ strengths right away while developing their weaknesses at the same time.

He’s not worth a first round pick but should he fall in the second, the Packers may take a long look at Ayers before deciding whether or not to draft him.

7. Highlight video:

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Kris Burke is a sports writer covering the Green Bay Packers for AllGreenBayPackers.com and WTMJ in Milwaukee. He is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA) and his work has been linked to by sites such as National Football Post and CBSSports.com. Follow @KrisLBurke

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8 Responses to “Packers Prospect Profile — OLB Akeem Ayers, UCLA”

  1. FireMMNow says:

    Most people feel that Ayers would be gone long before the packers pick so I do not know how you could call it a reach. I will agree with you that I have a second round grade on him, but calling him a reach at #32 is kind of strange to me. It seems like most draftniks and personnel people around the league have a much higher opinion of him than us.

    Also, his 40 times is actually pretty slow for a guy his size. I believe he improved on his combine time at his pro day, but citing his 40 time as proof that he plays a fast brand of football is once again confusing.

    One more thing I was a little confused about is you say that the idea of the Packers adding Ayers is doubtful because their LB corps is in flux due to the lockout. That makes no sense to me. The Packers know exactly what they want to do with their LB corps. Barnett is a wild card but he is a MLB so that makes no difference. Everyone at OLB besides Clay is a journeyman and will have to win a roster spot. I do not think that Ayers is the answer at OLB, but the labor process has nothing to do with who the packers will draft.

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    • Jersey Al Jersey Al says:

      I happen to be one of the minority that think Ayers is perfect for the Packers, IF, he responds to a few Kevin Greene kicks to his ass. If he could find the motivation and desire, he has all the tools the Packers want at OLB.

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      • FireMMNow says:

        i thought you were in the majority. it seems like a lot of people have him in the top 25 of their mocks.

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        • Jersey Al Jersey Al says:

          I guess I don’t pay attention to many mock drafts beside the drafttek.com one I’m involved with. I’ve heard a lot of bad opinions on Ayers. I say the tape doesn’t lie. The tape shows elite all-around ability when he feels like it. I would count on Kevin Greene to straighten that out real quick.

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  2. Pete Kliman says:

    I agree,he has that closing speed that can’t be measured by drills.However, I would not draft him with our first pick unless the OL[I guess Pouncy] ,Cobb,, or Watt where gone.

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  3. Tarynfor12 Taryn says:

    With Capers defensive scheme being so deep and intricate as it is,the last thing we need is Greene using/wasting time on motivation of a 1st rd pick.
    Simply,I would rather have the “snooze” button on his alarm clock get worn out somewhere else.

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  4. Tlvince says:

    Don’t like him at all, sorry but I wouldn’t touch him with either of GB’s first couple picks. He looked lazy on the videos I watched and he looked slow with no burst or instincts at all. You need to play like your hair is on fire in GB’s system and this guy is not that.

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