Pro Day: Improvement Across the Board for Akeem Ayers


One of the bigger disappointments at the NFL Scouting Combine was the ordinary numbers put up by UCLA OLB, Akeem Ayers. According to his tape, Ayers is a gifted athlete who has potential to play multiple positions at the next level. At the Combine, his numbers said otherwise. Running a 4.80 forty-yard dash, jumping only 31 inches, and putting up only 18 reps in the bench press at 225-pounds, worried scouts and coaches. How can this be? How are his workouts falling short and not matching up to his game tape? One Ayers camp insider offers insight:

"[Akeem] is what he is — a damn good football player. But, I can tell you right now, when he started working out, he wasn’t very fast. He’s improved and I expect him to be better at the Pro Day than he was at the Combine, but he’s not going to blow anyone away with his workout."

The anonymous source was indeed correct. Ayers improved upon all of his Combine numbers, showing scouts some of that athletic ability that we had grown to know over the last two years. He posted a much better forty time (4.69), and there were also improvements in his vertical jump (32 inches) and bench press (22).

The appeal to Ayers is his versatility. Known as being a “Jack-of-all-trades”, he has the skill set to line up in any defensive scheme, and play a number of positions. Also, he has an innate ability for making big plays. In only two years of starting, he managed to rack up 7 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 6 interceptions, 2 touchdowns, and 2 blocked kicks. Bucky Brooks of had this to say about Ayers after his Combine workout:

"He took part in positional drills as both a defensive end and linebacker, and displayed good skills at each spot. Although Ayers isn’t an explosive athlete, he is smooth and fluid in his movements and shows good body control while turning the corner. His bend and burst stood out, and he has enough ability to be a credible threat off the edge on the next level.Ayers also displayed enough athleticism to show he can drop into coverage on a regular basis. His agility and movement skills are impressive enough that he could be used as an outside linebacker in a 4-3 or 3-4 scheme."

That versatility will pay dividends come April’s draft. In today’s NFL, teams are looking for players who can fulfill multiple roles, giving them the best band for their buck. Previously, analyst had knocked Ayers down a few pegs on their Big Boards. His Pro Day should help to push him back up to his rightful spot.

Be sure to check out our Akeem Ayers Scouting Report.