UCLA junior defensive end Akeem Ayers enters the 2011 NFL Draft fray as a likely 3-4 linebacker convert. He contributed across the board for the Bruins as a two-year starter.
Ayers recorded 69 tackles, 6.0 sacks, two forced fumbles and four interceptions in 2009. Last season, he contributed 68 total stops, 4.0 sacks and two picks. Ayers tallied 24.5 tackles for loss in the last two years.
- Versatile contributor
- Adept in coverage
- Quality size (6-foot-4, 255 pounds)
- Lateral agility
Active with a high motor
Not necessarily a 3-4 rush LB
- Evolved as a player
- Disciplined and unselfish
- Sheds blocks well
- Dislodges the ball with regularity
- Team leader, intelligent
- Average read-and-react ability and instincts
- Can be overly aggressive in pursuit
- Mediocre straight-line speed (4.80-second 40-yard dash)
- Limited upside
- Not the pass-rush specialist some make him out to be
- Despite being overly aggressive at times, not very physical
Expected draft placement
Many people see Ayers as a 3-4 rush linebacker, but we don't believe that is the best position for his skill set. He has the coverage skills to play 4-3 strongside linebacker and, perhaps, 3-4 strongside. As long as teams do not miscast him, he should have a very productive career in the NFL.
Teams that could show interest in the first round include the Detroit Lions (No. 13), St. Louis Rams (No. 14), San Diego Chargers (No. 18), Baltimore Ravens (No. 26) and New York Jets (No. 30). St. Louis is probably the most likely landing spot at this time.
About Cory J. Bonini
Cory is KFFL's General Manager. In late 2002, he joined the KFFL staff as a research analyst and has been involved in fantasy sports since 1996. A member of the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, as well as Fantasy Sports Writers Association, Bonini has been featured in print, on radio and on scores of websites. Bonini co-hosted Big Lead Sports on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio from 2011 to 2012.
Bonini was recognized with the 2010 Best Article in Print Award from the FSWA and was a finalist for the same award in 2011. In '11, he finished first overall in the FSWA NFL experts challenge that featured 60 of the industry's best competitors.
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