No, it’s not just because he and I graduated from the same school, but I am a huge fan of running back Cam Akers and his selection to the LA Rams with the 52nd pick on Friday evening.
The newest member of the Rams is an advanced statistics nightmare for the rest of the NFL — and I don’t care who knows it.
You may hear about his athleticism; you may hear about his story to get to FSU and what he did while there. But what you won’t readily hear about is the fact that this guy just simply got the job done, with perhaps the worst offensive line situation in front of him for the past three seasons.
FSU is known for their ability to put running backs into the NFL and Akers was tailor-made to be the next Seminole in line to make the pro leap.
Look at it this way: There were efficiency ratings for offensive line production produced after the 2019 college football season and the Florida State Seminoles unit were near the bottom of all 130 programs nationally. I even ranked the FBS OL units from 1 to 130 while at PFF, and the highest I could logistically place them — even though they’re my alma mater — was 129th.
They were that bad as a unit. It wasn’t just pass protection, it wasn’t just run-blocking; they were a poor unit overall.
That all being said, look at the numbers that Akers was able to put up during his three-year FSU career:
- Carries: 586
- Yards: 2,864
- Yards After Contact: 2,186
- Broken Tackles: 144
- 10+ Yard Runs: 80
- TDs: 27
- First-Down Carries: 127
- Receiving Yards: 483
- Yards After the Catch: 597
- Receiving TDs: 7
- Receiving First-Downs: 14
- Broken Tackles (after catch): 19
He recorded a whopping 76 broken tackles on the ground alone last season and another eight after the catch. He did all of this while being contacted at or behind the line of scrimmage more often than most running backs in the entire country.
He had to work harder than just about every other running back in the country for his rushing yards last year. And basically for all of his years as a Seminole running back.
Oh, Akers also has a wildly terrific set of hands as well, when he’s on his game. Yes, I know he had quite a few drops in 2019, but he also did this in his career:
Akers draws incredible value due to his ability in the passing game as he hauled in 79.1% of the targeted passes thrown his way and ripped off an impressive 8.8 yards after the catch per reception.
Combine that with the fact that he averaged 3.91 yards after contact per carry during the 2019 season and you can understand just how bad the FSU line was — and how good Akers was with the ball in his hands.
He was largely the only viable threat on the FSU offense as well a season ago, doing all of his damage when defensive coordinators knew he was the one getting the ball on every play. I mean, he was the wildcat QB on multiple occasions and defenses still couldn’t stop him.
He’s a tackle-breaking machine and did so year in and year out while at Florida State. Those are highly correlating traits in terms of successful NCAA-to-NFL translation as Akers projects to be one of the safest bets at the position.
Safest is one thing, but Akers likely presents the best overall running back in the entire class. Yeah, I said it.
And as Rams fans, we’re all here for that.