Name: Cam Akers
Position: Running Back
School: Florida State
NFL Grade: 6.39 ("Will be starter within first two seasons")
Stats: Despite a disappointing season for the 'Noles and not a lot of help up front, Akers still excelled and posted his second consecutive 1,000-yard season in 2019. He rushed for 1,144 and 14 touchdowns on 231 carries. He also added 225 yards and four touchdowns through the air, catching 30 passes in his junior season. He was one of seven players nationally with three touchdowns in three or more games last year. Akers' best game last season came against Lousiana-Monroe, where he rushed for 193 yards and two touchdowns while also scoring a receiving touchdown on one of five passes he caught for 55 yards. He was a top 10 national recruit coming out of high school in Mississippi, where he played quarterback, passing for 8,104 yards and 78 touchdowns while also rushing for 5,103 yards and 71 touchdowns in his career. Akers even broke Dalvin Cook's single-season freshman record in 2017, rushing for 1,024 in his first year as a Seminole.
Comments: Though his stats aren't as gaudy coming out of school as some of his other running back counterparts this draft class, Akers showed a lot more harder-to-quantify skills at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis. A new drill was introduced as the Duce Staley drill, headed up by the former Philadelphia Eagles running back. Akers excelled while many others faltered a bit, showing off fluid footwork and hips.
NFL.com's Lance Zierlein notes his tempo and flow while also highlighting his change in direction ability. Here's what he has to say:
"Despite a disappointing win-loss record and a lack of blocking up front, Akers maintained a consistent level of play that represents his football character. He runs with tempo and flow but alters his rush track at a moment's notice when needed. He is elusive but lacking the instant burst of a slasher capable of stacking long runs in a single game. Akers has above-average open-field vision once he's into the second level and looks to run through the tackler's pads as a finisher. He's a three-down option with good feel for finding the crease near the goal line, but ball security needs to improve. He can be Leg 1 or 2 of a tandem rushing attack and is one of the more natural runners in the draft."
Akers also has more receiving work than most and has a background playing quarterback, which undoubtedly adds to his ability to digest routes. Both Head Coach Bruce Arians and General Manager Jason Licht have said they have a lot of faith in the Bucs' current running back room, including Ronald Jones, but that wouldn't stop them from looking for another back – especially of the pass-catching variety.