Today, ESPN’s NFL Draft expert, Mel Kiper, published his first mock draft of the year. He projects the Lions to select OLB Akeem Ayers. He is ranked as the second best linebacker behind Texas A&M’s Von Miller. Ayers, a junior, played for UCLA this past fall. Ayers had 75 tackles and 6 sacks in his sophomore year and 68 tackles and 4 sacks this season. Also, Ayers is a play-maker, he has intercepted the ball 6 times in his career and has scored 3 touchdowns.
Ayers is big for an OLB (6’4, 255 lbs and can add some weight) and has good speed for his size. He can mix it up and can line up on the end and become a solid pass rusher. He turns the corner well which helps him when rushing the quarterback. Ayers was First Team All-Pac-10, Third Team Associated Press All-American, and the MVP of the 2009 EagleBank Bowl.
Some experts say that he only “got by” in college due to his athleticism and ability. They state that Ayers needs to improve some of his techniques and tackling for him to be a good OLB in the NFL.
For more on Ayers, check out his profile on Fansided’s Nflmocks.com