The NFL Draft is just around the corner and the Steelers could use an eventual replacement for James Conner. Here is my scouting report on Florida State running back, Cam Akers.
It’s no surprise by this point that the Steelers could very well be in the market for a running back early in the 2020 NFL Draft. While it’s hard to zero in on exactly who they might be targeting, Cam Akers is a player that is sure to be on their radar.
Akers checks literally every box Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin look for at the running back position. He’s extremely young (20 years old), durable, (played in 36 games over three seasons), and Productive (3-year starter with over 2,800 rushing yards). In addition, Akers fits the size thresholds they look for at 5’10” and 217 pounds.
Here’s a look at my Steelers scouting report for Florida State running back, Cam Akers, and his potential fit in Pittsburgh:
RB Cam Akers, Florida State
- Thick, muscular body that is ideal for the running back position
- Extremely durable in college (played 36 of 38 total games over three years)
- 20 years old, but beyond his years as a pass protector and receiver
- Athletic with top-end speed, former 5-star recruit out of high school
- Tough, physical runner who can get low and finish hard
- Sudden feet and ability to make a hard cut
- Nose for the endzone, gives a little extra effort at the goal line
- Terrific in the open field with the ability to make defenders miss
- High upside as a receiving option out of the backfield
- Very modest efficiency running the football (partially due to poor offensive line)
- Questionable vision at times behind the line of scrimmage
- Ball security could be an issue
- Often looks for contact rather than avoiding it
- Solid route runner, but not the most natural hands as a pass-catcher
Cam Akers’ fit in Pittsburgh
If drafted by the Steelers, Akers would no doubt kick off the season by splitting snaps with starting running back, James Conner. Akers is a player with every-down potential, so the Steelers could elect to keep him on the field on third downs.
Akers’ vision is hard to gauge due to his poor offensive line play at Florida State. If he can shut down questions in this area of his game, he could become Pittsburgh’s lead back by the end of his rookie season. Drafting Akers would likely make Jalen Samuels expendable and would give the Steelers the option to let James Conner walk after the 2020 season.
Pro Comparison: DeAngelo Williams
This isn’t just a comparison to a former Steelers running back. DeAngelo Williams and Cam Akers share a lot of similarities. For starters, they are both similar athletes with homerun ability in the second level. They also are both solid weapons as receivers out of the backfield.
DeAngelo is slightly smaller at 5’9” and 214 pounds, but both backs win in very similar ways. Williams went on to have an 11-year career and made a Pro Bowl in 2009. If Akers could come anything close to this, that would be a win for the Steelers.
Overall, I’m not a big supporter of taking running backs early in the draft. Despite being a very good athlete and a former 5-star recruit, I don’t believe Akers is a top-level prospect at the position, and I have a 2nd-3rd round grade on him. I would like this pick much more if he were to make it back to pick 102, but the Steelers will likely have to take him at pick 49 if they really want him.