FSU Running Back Cam Akers Drafted by LA Rams in NFL Draft's 2nd Round: Pro Scouting Report
Florida State running back Cam Akers didn't have the most straight-forward path to the NFL. During his three years in Tallahassee from 2017-2019, Akers had three different head coaches at FSU, three different offensive coordinators, and ran behind overmatched offensive lines that themselves went through a trio of position coaches. But he never complained, keeping his head down and his powerful legs churning, all while striving toward his goal of making it to the NFL.
Akers' hard work has now paid off, as his dream was realized on Friday night when the Rams selected him in the 2020 NFL Draft's second round with the 52nd overall pick.
Simply put, he Rams are getting one of the most talented Seminoles to ever carry the ball for the garnet and gold. The top-ranked recruit out of Mississippi for his recruiting class and the country's No. 2 RB for that cycle, Akers began his collegiate career with a bang, breaking Dalvin Cook's FSU freshman rushing record in 2017. His numbers dipped during his sophomore campaign, but that's not really on him, as he had to run behind what was probably the worst OL in power-five football and one of the worst in all of the FBS.
But this just made Akers grind even harder. Routinely absorbing contact behind the line of scrimmage, he had to work with small, fleeting, and sometimes non-existent holes.
So he was forced to adapt.
And that meant a few things. Akers learned to rely more on his significant power-- and also his creativity. When a narrow crease presented itself, he hit it hard. When faced with scant daylight, he became increasingly effective at either slamming it forward to gain what he could, or escaping to seek open rushing lanes elsewhere. And once Akers did break out, he wasn't easily brought down, moving ever forward with his impressive quads and a balance that improved throughout his time in Tally.
Akers found other ways to contribute as well. He played quarterback in high school, and although he only attempted a lone pass in each of his first two seasons as a Seminole, 2019 saw the introduction of "Wild Cam" sets to the Florida State offense. This was typically effective, and while it usually resulted in rushing plays, he did complete four of six passes. That's obviously a small sample size, but quite frankly, he's got an arm, so this could be a wrinkle with which the Rams can play.
But let's not denigrate his speed, either. Akers still clocked an impressive 4.47 40-time at the 2020 NFL Combine, which helped him finish sixth in rushing yardage in the 'Nole record book, which is beyond impressive. We recently took a look at Akers' most impressive runs at Florida State, the descriptions of which you can check out here, while some video highlights are assembled below.
Yes, he needs to improve his ball security. And he could get better at catching passes, but his receiving yardage did improve with every season he spent at FSU, so Akers seems to be on an upward trajectory there.
Here's how I broke down Akers' game, recently, in an interview with SI:
And the SI mothership weighed in after Akers' selection with corroborating sentiments:
Akers ended his three-year Seminole career with 2,874 rushing yards and 3,375 yards from scrimmage. The only other Florida State players to rush for more than 1,000 yards in several seasons during their collegiate careers: Warrick Dunn and Dalvin Cook. That's not bad company for Akers to boast as he heads to LA, where he'll join fellow 'Nole Jalen Ramsey on the roster.