Akeem Ayers OLB UCLA
Coverage/Zone Coverage Skills
Although he his fluid in space, he isn’t real instinctive. He has good speed and is able to turn his hips and run but he seems to always be a step behind the action. He tends to bite on play fakes and struggles to locate receivers that enter his zone. Doesn’t possess the greatest ball skills and struggles to locate the ball when it’s in the air.
Ayers doesn’t possess the greatest instincts. He’s a little late getting to the point of attack in the running game and takes himself out of plays. It always seems like he’s taking a little longer than everyone else to decipher whether it’s a run or pass and he tends to fall for play action.
He isn’t an explosive pass rusher but he gets the job done. He rushes with good leverage and really gets into the blocker. Akeem is able to bend and run the arc around the outside and uses his athleticism and balance to get around the tackles. He needs to develop more pass rush moves and can’t always rely on his athleticism to get to the quarterback.
Pursuit/Lateral Movement and Agility
His motor seems to run hot and cold and seems to mentally check out on some plays. However, when it’s running hot, it runs very hot. He arrives at the ball hell bent for election and delivers some knock out blows. He needs to learn to wrap up and drive through people instead of going for knock outs. He is a very fluid athlete which allows him to change directions quickly.
When he’s on the edge, he shows a really quick first step and is able to get up the field. Gets out of his stance and around the corner quickly.
Strength/Ability to Shed Blocks
Although Ayers is a strong player, he struggles to get of blocks. He seems content on just running in there and blowing up a blocker in the hole instead of getting his hands on them and shedding them. He doesn’t take on blocks with good leverage and needs to get lower. He’s much better with cut blocks and can use his hands to keep blockers off his legs and go make a play.
He’s a very versatile player. He mostly played on the strong-side but did shift to defensive end in some passing situations. He has the versatility to play either the 3-4 rush linebacker or a 4-3 strong-side linebacker.
Akeem Ayers showed the knack for the big play throughout his career at UCLA. During his three years on the Bruin defense, he recorded fourteen sacks, eleven pass break ups, six interceptions, and seven forced fumbles.
One of the best things about Ayers is that, as of right now, teams can mold him into what they want him to be depending on their scheme. He is raw but possesses some solid tools to work with. He’s big, fluid, and he can be relentless. He really needs to be more consistent and learn how to use his hands better whether it’s taking on blocks in the run game or rushing the passer. He doesn’t have too many pass rushing moves to speak of. I see him as more of a developmental pass rusher in a 3-4 due to his explosiveness of the ball and lack of instincts in pass coverage.