SideLion Report analyzes possible targets for the Detroit Lions in the upcoming draft. Today, we look at Florida State running back Cam Akers.
Just over two weeks away from the NFL’s first-ever proposed “virtual draft“, the Detroit Lions’ roster needs and potential targets are slowly coming into focus. Running back is certainly one of those areas, and the Lions seem like a sure bet to add to their offensive backfield at some point in the selection process.
Currently, the Lions’ top three members of the unit are Kerryon Johnson, Bo Scarbrough, and Ty Johnson. They, along with a host of other backs helped the Lions field a respectable, yet unspectacular rushing attack in 2019, which ranked 21st overall in yards per game (103.1), tied for 20th in yards per carry (4.1), but just fourth from the bottom in rushing touchdowns (seven).
There are deeper concerns with this group, though. Despite explosive and versatile talent, the former Johnson has missed 14 games with injuries in two seasons and cannot be relied upon. Scarbrough had a nice showing in six games last year, but he is a limited player. The latter Johnson made little impact as a rookie.
The Lions have thus far made the wise decision to eschew signing a veteran back to a pricey contract this offseason, meaning they will be looking for help starting on April 23rd. While it’s doubtful they will target a tailback in the first round, and maybe even the second, here’s a talented player for their running back corps that could be available in the middle of the draft:
Prospect: Cam Akers
Position/School: Running Back / Florida State
Height/Weight: 5-10, 217
2018 stats: 11 games played, 231 carries, 1144 yards, 30 receptions, 225 yards, 18 total touchdowns
Draft Projection: 1st-3rd round
Akers enters the 2020 NFL Draft after three years with the Seminoles. With a powerful, compact frame, he managed to keep his team’s rushing attack afloat despite consistently running behind a below-average offensive line. His yards-per-carry average over three seasons of 4.9 isn’t the highest mark in this class, but it’s a passable metric when projecting to the next level.
He welcomes contact and will punish would-be tackles at the second level. While he lacks breakaway speed, he’s shiftier and more elusive than one would think in the open field, considering his short and solid body type. He is a dangerous runner near the goal line and has good vision and second-effort push when approaching the end zone.
The Lions like their depth running backs to bring more than just running skills to the table. Akers offers little in the way of special teams ability (just one career kick or punt return), but he is a capable pass-catcher, and he is one of the better backs in this class when it comes to pass protection. This is a key trait for the Lions’ downfield passing attack; running backs have to be able to ward off pass rushers at an acceptable level in the Lions’ offense in order to get their share of snaps.
Should he and the Lions forge a partnership, he could form a nice 1-2 combination with Kerryon Johnson, who could miss games again in 2020. They may need to scoop him up earlier than you’d think, since he is one of the more complete backs in the draft, and should pique several teams’ interest.
Do you think that Florida State’s Cam Akers would be a good fit for the Detroit Lions? Let us know in the comments section below.