As a small school prospect entering the 2013 NFL Draft, Coastal Carolina wide receiver Akeem Wesley faces an uphill battle against bigger named prospects at his position. While Wesley possesses ideal size for a prototypical NFL wide receiver, his production lacks immensely compared to the competition within the available wide receivers in this year’s draft. DraftInsider had the opportunity to sit down with Akeem Wesley and interview the Coastal Carolina product about his path to the NFL.
Akeem, as you prepare to take the next step in your football career, what is the one thing you are most focused on about making a name for yourself in the NFL?
To be honest, I just want to prove people wrong that look down on small school guys such as myself.. Coming from a “small school” we already frown upon, but it’s apart of the game. I take it for what it is and play the cards I’m dealt. It makes you work harder and cherish the small things about the grind to the NFL. It helps build something out of you that you may not knew was there. It also builds character, because it makes me better and shows how bad you really want it when you overlooked. So once you get to the NFL it’s more about being that small school guy that helped his team win day in and day out.
When you look back on your career at Coastal Carolina, what’s one thing you feel you can take away from your time there that would make you a successful NFL wide receiver?
Looking back on my career at Coastal Carolina University, the one thing I can take away to be successful in the NFL is overcoming adversity.. From losing my grandmother my freshman year to injuring my wrist my senior season.. After my grandmother (raised me since I was 3months old) passed; it was easy for me to give up. I had to learn to provide for myself and not look for a handout. Although I did have great supporters that pushed me to continue and I hate letting people down that truly care bout my will-being. So I kept fighting to be successful and knowing I was making my grandmother and supporters proud. So any adversity now I feel is cake and I can overcome it, because I really already dealt with the hardest thing for me to adapt to and that was losing my grandmother.. So a bad game and or poor performance I know not to give up but to work harder.
Please tell everyone who and where you’re training, and what you’re doing to prepare for the biggest day of your life?
I’m currently training in Atlanta, Georgia with Greg Rhodes. I have a regional combine here March 17th, South Carolina All-Star Game March 23rd, then Coastal Pro-Day March 28th. Greg Rhodes and I are focusing on my speed and agility to make sure I have no regrets on either of those dates.
When you look at the top receivers in the NFL, who’s one receiver you like to mold your game after? who are some of your influences?
Due to my size and style, I try to mold my game around players like Anquan Boldin (Strong Hands), Dez Bryant (Physical Play), and Michael Crabtree (Smooth Feel For The Game).
Finally, sell yourself to NFL teams right here on With The First Pick. Who is Akeem Wesley, and why should an NFL team take a chance on you?
Akeem Wesley is someone that has ambition and passion for the game. Which also leads to a great work ethic and not afraid to go that extra mile to help the team and also get better himself. I know to come in learn the Offense quick and effective as possible and not be a problem to the team. It’s never always about me when it comes to making discussions it’s family (Team) first. I’m also that receiver that’s not afraid to make a play on special teams. I actually look forward to it, because I know special teams count and matter A LOT… Plus, I love that action!!
Having gotten to know Akeem after exchanging phone calls and text messages, as well as conversation through twitter, there’s no denying he’s a great kid with a great attitude. Adversity instills something in people that you wouldn’t find in your ordinary Joe. After watching tape on Wesley, DraftInsider has compiled a Prospect Profile for Akeem Wesley as a prospect in the 2013 NFL Draft.
6’2” 215 lbs.
The first thing that stands out to me when watching Akeem Wesley is his strength. His strength reminds me a lot of Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Anquan Boldin, in the sense that they are both extremely tough players to bring to the ground. It often will take more than one defender to bring Wesley to the ground, if you don’t you’ll see him striding down the sideline to the end zone. Wesley is very versatile, if he’s on your team and isn’t contributing as a wide receiver, he’ll strap up and play special teams in a heart beat. He’s an extremely hard worker and will do what is needed for the team to succeed. While he didn’t have much production at Coastal Carolina, Wesley contributed in more ways than one. As said before, Wesley was a key special teams contributor, which NFL scouts will love when inquiring about the type of player he was in college. Wesley is very good at catching with his hands rather than using his body to reel in throws. He extends his arms and reaches out for the ball, all while in his routes. You like to see this from a receiver, especially at a smaller school. Wesley has good technique as a receiver, and with his size and strength, could be a valuable asset to an NFL team. Wesley possesses great awareness, which you’ll notice when you watch his highlights. He’s constantly breaking out of his routes with his eye on the quarterback looking for the ball. Wesley is a good blocker in the running game, and could be an asset to a team in that aspect. His versatility and production on special teams is one of my favorite things I notice when watching tape. Wesley is constantly involved in the play, and always near the ball carrier.
First and foremost, Wesley simply didn’t see enough of the field. He has tight hips in his routes, which is going to be a problem at the next level if he can’t loosen up. My biggest concern with Wesley is that because he didn’t play enough, you don’t really know what you’re getting on the field with him. He’s raw at best, but there’s not much to his game that jumps out at you initially on tape. The more tape you watch of him, the more his tight lower body sticks out, which is scary for a receiver in the NFL. Wesley could look to drop five to ten pounds in hopes of being more agile and fluent. He’ll need to be coached on route running, as this is not one of his strong suits. Wesley can be ill-tempered at times on the field, as I’ve seen a few times on tape. A few times he was seen slamming the ball after being tackled after a long catch, which is understood due to the emotions of the game. However, it only takes one slip up for teams to look at you and red-flag you due to “poor character”. I’ll be first to tell you, Akeem Wesley does not possess poor character, but on the field you’d want to see him tone down the emotion just a bit in favor of the better of the team. Production has never worked in Wesley’s favor during his career at Coastal Carolina, as mentioned before he didn’t see much of the field during his career, and saw very little on offense in 2012 due to a mild wrist injury that prevented him from contributing for a portion of the season.
I think a team would be best suited to sign Wesley as an undrafted free agent and bring him as a camp invite. While initially I don’t see Wesley making it on an NFL roster as a wide receiver, due to his rawness and his glaring weakness in route running. I think that he could find himself on an NFL practice squad in year one or two, and be a special teams call up for a team hurt by injury.
Akeem Wesley Highlights