smeeze

Cam Akers 2020 Outlook

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What really has Brown and Henderson shown the Rams in the short time they have been in the league? Henderson has shown not much at all and Brown has shown some short spurts of success last season. Akers is the new guy that brings fresh air to the Rams backfield and he will get every chance to succeed and be the #1RB for the Rams in my opinion. I mean his competition hasn't really lit it up in the past. So I think it really comes down to how Akers performs in pre-season or whatever that may be leading into this season for him to secure the job. 

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On 4/28/2020 at 5:50 AM, SharkSwimmer said:

I am the one who said I don't need a chart, in a different thread.  I also don't need a chart to tell me that career plugger Malcolm Brown and scatback Darrel Henderson pose around zero threat to Akers starting, and primary, role.


Do we know how Cam is in pass protection? As I understand he is a very raw RB and if he doesn’t deliver in pass protection I don’t see why Brown/Henderson wouldn’t be in play especially early in the season. And this is without taking the pandemic and probably limited practices into consideration.

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That is a fair point.  Goff is a nearly immovable stiff in the pocket, so pass pro is quite key.

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1 hour ago, sneakerfreak said:


Do we know how Cam is in pass protection? As I understand he is a very raw RB and if he doesn’t deliver in pass protection I don’t see why Brown/Henderson wouldn’t be in play especially early in the season. And this is without taking the pandemic and probably limited practices into consideration.

Found this:

Pass Protection - Has all the physical ability to be a standout pass blocker but reps are often dreadful. Lacks awareness when reading the defense and good coordinators put him in conflict and he usually took the wrong man. Can be passive to lean in with a shoulder instead of getting square, engaging his hands and leveraging his hips. Needs to get coached up. 
 

From here:

https://thedraftnetwork.com/player/cam-akers/sPhCn8ATDw

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That sounds pretty bad.  Maybe Akers will be okay running the ball and with play-action, though.  That seems to be the majority of what McVay runs.

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8 minutes ago, smeeze said:

Found this:

Pass Protection - Has all the physical ability to be a standout pass blocker but reps are often dreadful. Lacks awareness when reading the defense and good coordinators put him in conflict and he usually took the wrong man. Can be passive to lean in with a shoulder instead of getting square, engaging his hands and leveraging his hips. Needs to get coached up. 
 

From here:

https://thedraftnetwork.com/player/cam-akers/sPhCn8ATDw


It might take a half season or so...but I don’t think its an issue for him once he gets comfortable.  He has some great pass pro film as well.  Very well rounded prospect.    
 

In his defense-  Akers was FSUs entire offense and they had a dreadful O line.  Covering up their blocking errors was a full time job. 

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took him at 4 in a dynasty. Think he leads the rookies this year in points as well at the rb position. Going to be a great mid round pick, which should help with a strong playoff push. I wouldn't be shocked to see him have one of the better careers for the rbs drafted this year as well,.

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3 hours ago, dontclapGonorrhea said:

took him at 4 in a dynasty. Think he leads the rookies this year in points as well at the rb position. Going to be a great mid round pick, which should help with a strong playoff push. I wouldn't be shocked to see him have one of the better careers for the rbs drafted this year as well,.

Tough to take anything after that seriously, true or not

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2 minutes ago, the_dying_dream said:

Tough to take anything after that seriously, true or not


Why would taking him 4th in a dynasty league draft be unreasonable?

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On 4/28/2020 at 8:00 PM, Boudewijn said:

I looked specifically for RB prospects. QB is an entirely different ballgame, and I expect it to look very different. I don't have time right now but I'll take another look tomorrow.

Turns out:
- tomorrow is always a day away
- it doesn't look that different for QBs at all (which also vindicates @dmb3684 btw, who said something similar about Joe Burrows)

image.png.a1efe2615a2222d368157a5218911854.png

If anything it's more pronounced, with 24yo QB draftees getting half the career yardage of 21yos. That is massive.

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1 hour ago, the_dying_dream said:

Tough to take anything after that seriously, true or not

4th pick in this year's rookie crop most likely.

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https://youtu.be/80Ndka-BTtw?t=95

The above is the game against Boston College in the ACC. At 1:35 it has an interesting series with first a pass to Akers, then twice a pass protection assignment for him.
Also interesting is 6:10 with first a run and then pass protection (well done).
At 8:10 he blows his assignment exactly at the moment the snap is bad, but the QB gets away; the next (run)blocking assignment is actually done well.

So I'm going to say it's a mixed bag. I'm sure he needs to step it up in the pros but it's not as if he's completely clueless.

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3 hours ago, Boudewijn said:

Turns out:
- tomorrow is always a day away
- it doesn't look that different for QBs at all (which also vindicates @dmb3684 btw, who said something similar about Joe Burrows)

image.png.a1efe2615a2222d368157a5218911854.png

If anything it's more pronounced, with 24yo QB draftees getting half the career yardage of 21yos. That is massive.

 

Would be more effective in the Burrow thread. But TY

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11 minutes ago, dmb3684 said:

 

Would be more effective in the Burrow thread. But TY

We have our director!

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16 hours ago, smeeze said:
18 hours ago, sneakerfreak said:


Do we know how Cam is in pass protection? As I understand he is a very raw RB and if he doesn’t deliver in pass protection I don’t see why Brown/Henderson wouldn’t be in play especially early in the season. And this is without taking the pandemic and probably limited practices into consideration.

 

17 hours ago, SharkSwimmer said:

That is a fair point.  Goff is a nearly immovable stiff in the pocket, so pass pro is quite key.

Found this: Pass Protection - Has all the physical ability to be a standout pass blocker but reps are often dreadful. Lacks awareness when reading the defense and good coordinators put him in conflict and he usually took the wrong man. Can be passive to lean in with a shoulder instead of getting square, engaging his hands and leveraging his hips. Needs to get coached up. From here: https://thedraftnetwork.com/player/cam-akers/sPhCn8ATDw

 

this 'nole site (below) does not sugercoat it: cam akers' biggest area in need of growth is pass protection. nfl draft profiler notes that cam akers is physical and "had the grit" for pass protection, and here that take is corroborated as his issues "lie on the mental side." we know akers is a carson-type runner who will attack and punish defenders, and that won't be changing soon, so for me injuries are a longer-term concern. for the shorter term and time on the field, it's pass protection -----if he can be coached well in pass pro and actually level up, then (only then?) will we see akers as alpha-dog in what looks to be a committee at this point.

https://www.tomahawknation.com/florida-state-football-fsu-noles/2020/4/22/21229447/nfl-draft-2020-running-back-cam-akers-scouting-analysis-florida-state-seminoles-football 

 

 

Pass Protection

Pass protection is the real weakness of Akers’ game. Physically there are no issues - at times he would even drop a shoulder and deliver a good hit to a rusher. But Akers’ issues in pass protection lie on the mental side, and you can’t place all blame here on poor offensive line play. Akers needs to be improve identification of potential rushers earlier and setting himself in position. These two plays below are perfect examples:

 

As it currently stands, Akers is not a reliable three-down player. That’s not to say that Akers is bad at pass protection, and defensive coordinators definitely put Akers in some no-win conflicts with delayed blitzes, as on the third down play in the clip just above. But third downs are usually obvious passing situations, and a running back needs to be perfect or close to perfect in their pass protection at the next level, and Akers is simply too inconsistent.

If you are not consistent, you are a liability. One bad play can get your franchise quarterback hurt and lost for the season, which usually ends the team’s season. Consequently, some NFL coaches won’t even play a running back if they can’t trust them to pass block. Not to mention having a running back who can’t block can tip off a defense as to whether the play is a run or a pass.

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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, Boudewijn said:

https://youtu.be/80Ndka-BTtw?t=95

The above is the game against Boston College in the ACC. At 1:35 it has an interesting series with first a pass to Akers, then twice a pass protection assignment for him.
Also interesting is 6:10 with first a run and then pass protection (well done).
At 8:10 he blows his assignment exactly at the moment the snap is bad, but the QB gets away; the next (run)blocking assignment is actually done well.

So I'm going to say it's a mixed bag. I'm sure he needs to step it up in the pros but it's not as if he's completely clueless.


this is spot on.    I think Akers took plays off in pass pro...  whether from physical fatigue or mental strain from being responsible for 1/3 of his teams total offense-  and being contacted behind the line of scrimmage at an absurd rate.   He did more with less than any of these backs coming from power teams like Wiscy, Ohio State, Clemson, LSU,  etc....

 

Pointing at a few plays as evidence hes incapable...or will struggle at pass pro is a mistake.

Edited by Impreza178

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Rams RB Darrell Henderson said his rehab for his surgically-repaired ankle is "going well."

Henderson has been rehabbing at the Rams' facilities and is reportedly making good progress, although it's a mild concern that he's still rehabbing an ankle injury that happened six months ago. The second-year back says that he's "good to go" for in-person camps, including the upcoming training camp. He'll need to impress then to have a crack at winning the starting job. Coach Sean McVay previously said "we feel we've got three really good backs" but most believe second-round rookie Cam Akers will see the most touches in 2020. Henderson must improve in pass protection and with his vision to increase his snap counts.

RELATED: 
Jun 10, 2020, 7:43 PM ET

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Rams ask their backs to pass block at the 6th highest clip--so it is critical that Cam figures out where to be, which is really about 90% of it for RBs imo.

Here is some info from the Winks article on Akers college pass blocking numbers:

Pass Blocking Reps: 3rd out of 349 FBS RB qualifiers

Pass Blocking Grade: 99th out of 349 FBS RB qualifiers

Also:

"Todd Gurley led all NFL running backs with 115 pass-blocking reps last season. If Cam Akers is to establish himself as a true workhorse like Gurley was in recent seasons, he’ll have to prove better than Darrell Henderson and Malcolm Brown in pass pro. Akers at least has a big leg up on Henderson, as he was 3rd in the FBS in pass pro reps last season while Henderson only saw six pass pro reps as a rookie. When Henderson came into the league following the 2018 college season, he was 264th among FBS RBs in pass-blocking reps and graded poorly on them. Advantage Akers."

 

With Henderson still in recovery mode (must have been a pretty significant ankle injury) I think they went after Akers with a purpose (when a team like the Rams with all their needs and limited capital spend a 2nd, it ought to be with a clear view)...I don't think it can be emphasized enough how terrible Henderson looked as a runner last year, it was my main concern with the system he came from in college. Brown is a capable pass blocker/pass catcher, but he is about as limited as a runner as Henderson.

I really like the value in Akers right now.

 

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Posted (edited)

It's funny to hear people talk about Cams pass protection not realizing Henderson showed some of the worst pass protection skills in the league last year... They refused to play him in a passing role he was so bad at it...

 

Basically Malcolm Brown vs their stud second down rookie whose tape looks like a spitting image of Dalvin Cook... This is not hard.

Edited by chance182
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One day after the NFL announces their agreement with the NFLPA to play no preseason games...

Rams coach Sean McVay suggested the team will manage their backfield with "that running back-by-committee approach."

“I think it’ll just naturally work itself out," McVay continued. "I think if you look at that success (San Francisco) had last year with that running back-by-committee approach...what I thought Kyle (Shanahan) and their players did a great job of is, ‘Hey, we’re going to have an open-mind approach, we’re going to be committed to trying to have some balance and then we’ll go with the hot hand or whoever really expresses himself as deserving of the carries. We’ve got four backs that we feel like are all NFL-legitimate starting-caliber backs and not feeling like you’ve got to force carries or touches to any of them. Just open mind and see how these guys do.” The four backs he's speaking of are second-round rookie Cam Akers, former No. 70 overall pick Darrell Henderson, Malcolm Brown (who out-touched Henderson 71 to 43 last year), and former preseason standout John Kelly. Whatever the end product, fans and fantasy players alike should expect Los Angeles' offense to bring a fresh approach to the field this year.

Makes sense to me. I imagine the Rams want Cam to earn the job, but with no preseason they have to (at least publicly) enter the year with a committee. Hoping his ADP falls and I can scope him up cheap.

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Still think it's Akers job to lose, but I'm thinking they learned their lesson with Gurley. Spread the carries around so as to not wear out one back. 

Also helps keep opposing D coordinators guessing a little more.  

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With the lack of prep time, it's going to be difficult for me to take any of the top rookie RBs where they're currently being drafted at.  Especially one where the coach says it's some sort of time share.

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I just don’t see a way this works out to help your fantasy team at his adp.

The rams o-line was a disaster last year, and they did nothing to improve it in the offseason. Even if he wins the starting role and is a bell cow it’s not a guarantee it will equal fantasy success. And we aren’t even sure if he will win the starting job.

 

With the McVay quotes posted above, I think the Gurley injuries have left a sour taste in his mouth about giving 1 back the workload. I 100% believe he will be taking the committee approach this year.

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Welp no preseason to give us an idea of how he will look

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1 hour ago, Breesus said:

I just don’t see a way this works out to help your fantasy team at his adp.

The rams o-line was a disaster last year, and they did nothing to improve it in the offseason. Even if he wins the starting role and is a bell cow it’s not a guarantee it will equal fantasy success. And we aren’t even sure if he will win the starting job.

 

With the McVay quotes posted above, I think the Gurley injuries have left a sour taste in his mouth about giving 1 back the workload. I 100% believe he will be taking the committee approach this year.

Maybe I am in the wrong, but I thought it was widely known that Gurley had a knee that would never wear well (arthritic condition) when they handed him that foolish deal? I think he would be more sour about that, if he had a hand in it? Not that Gurley didn't crush it, he certainly did...but the risks with him were not just discovered in hindsight either.

Anyway, few backs can get it done all by themselves anymore. This feels like pre-season coach fluff, talking everyone up etc. I mean I always thought John Kelly could get it done, but how can he even say that about him when all he's done is mothball the dude? And Brown is the walking definition of JAG. The cream will rise here, but I am all about pushing Akers value down to get him in more spots, so keep em coming McVay.

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