FSU RB Cam Akers receives rough preseason draft grade

Cam Akers (Florida State) is one of several running backs jockeying for early-round consideration in the 2020 NFL Draft, but one analyst thinks he won’t be among the prospects selected — at all — next April.

Florida State running back Cam Akers is one of the more intriguing prospects to scout during the 2019 college football season. The once highly-touted recruit has had an up-and-down tenure with the Seminoles but is undoubtedly talented enough to challenge for early-round consideration if he can put together a good season of film.

In fact, it’s isn’t out of the realm of possibility for Akers to have some first-round grades once we get through the draft process.

Akers’ freshman season was promising. He ended his first year of college with 1,025 rushing yards and seven touchdowns while averaging 5.3 yards per carry. Naturally, he was one of the more hyped skill players at the start of 2018, but the FSU offense regressed and he was held to just 706 yards and six scores. His yards-per-carry average dropped by nearly one yard to 4.4.

This season will tell us a lot about who Akers is as a player. At 5-11 and 210 pounds (estimated), he possesses NFL starter’s size. He also has a finisher’s mentality when he runs, a trait noted by NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah, who praised Akers as a player who brings a strong combination of skills.

That’s why it’s so shocking to see another longtime draft analyst, Tony Pauline, issue Akers a preseason free-agent grade. Essentially, Pauline doesn’t view Akers as a draftable prospect.

Simply put, that’s ludicrous.

Pauline didn’t offer any explanation for his low grade; instead, he focused on other Florida State prospects in his team preview.

There’s no industry that embodies the saying, ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder,’ better than scouting. One scout’s trash is another’s treasure. In this case, Pauline’s trash appears to be a treasure for many respected NFL draft minds.

By comparison, The Draft Network’s Kyle Crabbs has Akers graded as a Day-2 player (second to third round) entering the 2019 season.

Preseason grades are really nothing more than a baseline or starting point for a player’s final draft evaluation. It’s a slippery slope to assign a prospect such a low grade despite a strong history of production and a pedigree that suggests more success is coming in 2019. We’ll see if Pauline’s preseason swing on Akers’ grade ends up being a stroke of genius or a major whiff.