Cam Akers played his final game for Florida State on November 30, but due to his athletic profile, he may have done more to improve his draft profile in the last month than he’d done during his three-year career with the Seminoles. Akers has become one of the hottest prospects over the past few weeks, but is it fully deserved?
High School Pedigree
Akers was an elite high school prospect. Per 247Sports Composite ranking, he was the top overall prospect in Mississippi, second overall RB nationally and the third overall player in the class of 2017. His final composite score ranks as the 59th best score since 2000, the first year 247Sports began collecting a composite.
Akers finished his career with 2,875 rushing yards, 27 rushing TDs, and he added an additional 486 receiving yards and 7 TDs. At face value, these production numbers look strong, but his efficiency pales when compared to some of the other members of this class. Some of that likely results from team issues. His usage remained incredibly high during his career.
Adding in a late Day 2 draft position to Akers’ sim score provides some optimism for his outlook. While his list doesn’t include many RB1 fantasy assets, it does include a myriad of backs who were given a chance to play early.
The argument for or against Akers based on his college career will feel very reminiscent of David Montgomery last year. He was a productive back in raw stats, but his efficiency was underwhelming. For both Montgomery and Akers, the argument in favor is that both did the most that they could do with a terrible offensive line. While Montgomery failed to prove his doubters wrong in his rookie year, Akers will have a chance to see the field on many teams.
As expected, Akers helped his draft stock at the combine. He tested above average in the forty-yard dash, bench press, vertical jump and broad jump. Both Dave Caban and Shawn Siegele identified Akers as one of the big winners from the combine.
Akers didn’t complete the three-cone and underwhelmed in the shuttle, so there may be some concerns about his agility. But his top comparable player on the Combine Explorer tool is Marshawn Lynch and his top six included three backs who averaged more the 10 PPR points per game during their first three years.
Using Kevin Cole’s combine drill regression tree, Akers finishes with a 21% historical success rate. As Shawn noted in his combine focused article, Akers success at the combine not only salvaged his draft stock, but it may have changed the narrative for some teams:
Akers will push for inclusion in the area with Swift and Dobbins, setting up a possible surprise on draft weekend.
ADP and Potential Outlook
The RotoViz team ranks Akers as the RB4, behind Jonathan Taylor, D’Andre Swift, and J.K. Dobbins. Based on his college production, it’s hard to argue that he belongs above any of these backs.
Anthony Amico’s regression tree from 2018 doesn’t paint the prettiest picture for Akers’ future. Using the Grinding The Mocks data as the basis for his rank in node 1, Akers immediately moves to the left side of the regression tree with a positional rank of 5. And while he was a workhorse for the FSU offense, he fell well below 28 carries per game. His career YPR is only 7.0. Based on this, his historical success rate would fall in the worst node with a mere 2.7% success rate. Should his rank move up to RB4, as expected, his rate would improve to 21%.
Akers is an exciting prospect when looking at his speed and overall athletic profile, but there’s a significant risk in drafting him as he’ll likely have a top half of the first-round ADP. Akers could be the next great NFL RB, but even his strengths only make him a lottery ticket. He’s the right fit for a team that is in the middle of a rebuild not looking to contend right away or a deep roster that could stash him as its RB4.