It has become abundantly clear the Atlanta Falcons will be drafting a running back in the 2020 NFL Draft. In fact, the team met with at least 13 backs during the NFL Combine, and the writing has been on the wall for Devonta Freman all offseason. Among those names of players they met with is former Florida State running back Cam Akers.
If the Florida State program had not faltered the way it had during his tenure, we could be looking at Akers as a top back in the Draft. As things currently stand, it appears he will be a mid-round selection with a ton of upside, valued behind guys like DeAndre Swift, J.K. Dobbins, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, and Jonathan Taylor. But outside of that group, Akers is likely the best of the rest and has the most star potential.
Akers was originally committed to the University of Alabama, but he and future UGA QB Jake Fromm de-committed on the same day. Six months later, with an extra star added to his grade, Akers committed to Florida State. The good news was that he immediately took the starting reins from Dalvin Cook, as he was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings. Unfortunately, Akers was entering the program at the wrong time. Regardless, as a true freshman, he showed he was the most talented player on the field, rushing for over 1,000 yards and most of them came after contact, breaking the freshman rushing record at FSU with his efforts.
Akers did not have a fun season running behind one of the worst offensive lines in the Power 5 as a sophomore, rushing for just 706 yards and a career-low 4.4 yards per carry. But it was far from his fault. This led to Akers being viewed as a question mark by many, with Tony Pauline even saying he viewed him as an undrafted free agent in the future. That wasn’t the consensus, but he definitely hurt his stock behind FSU’s line.
Akers has immense talent and was still able to show that as a Junior by running for 1,144 yards and 14 touchdowns, despite missing a game and sitting out their bowl contest. He also showed big strides as a pass-catcher, putting questions surrounding his game to rest.
Akers has the ability to be a three-down back at the next level, and his combination of explosiveness, size, and power should benefit from playing behind a better offensive line. He is built to make it through full NFL seasons but will have to work on his pass protection. Akers has the size: he will just have to discipline himself. He is also going to have to take better care of the football to earn trust as a featured back.
Akers is praised for his willingness to lower his pads and take on defenders, generating a ton of yards after contact — traits that would allow him a decent chance to succeed behind an Atlanta offensive line that struggled in 2019.
Akers usually gets in trouble when he dances around the line too much but is also very talented at bouncing the ball outside and finding space as well as having some lethal cuts and wiggles in his repertoire for a big boy. Despite playing behind that horrid Flordia State line, he was still able to run for decent yardage due to his instincts and vision. Akers also possesses excellent speed. He personally claims he can run 22.4 MPH, and at the NFL Combine, he ran a respectable 4.47. He also logged 20 reps on the bench press with jumps of 35.5 inches on the vertical jump and 122 inches on the broad jump.
Akers has all the athleticism you can ask for in a running back, he is just waiting for the right opportunity to shine. This did not stop him from being a productive player, so it seems the sky is the limit. If the Falcons do not take one of those top four running backs before the third round, Akers is by far the best prospect to take later on in the NFL Draft.