Akeem Ayers Rounds Out Top 3 OLB Prospects

March 07, 2011 | Brian Billick

Akeem Ayers is another standout OLB that receives a first round grade.  I don’t believe that both Ayers and Houston will be selected in the first round, but both are definitely capable.  Ayers will give his future team more of the traditional OLB that can attack running lanes, drop back into coverage, and occasionally rush the passer off the edge.  During his career at UCLA, Ayers has shown his knack for making the big play.  In his final two seasons,  Ayers personally accounted for 6 interceptions (2 of which he returned for TD) and another 6 forced fumbles.  With that said, he was also prone to play action and often missed the sure tackle by going for the big hit instead.  One reason I have him slipping behind Houston as my 3rd best OLB is due to the relatively disappointing workout he turned in at the combine.  His 18 reps on the bench press was significantly less than Houston’s 31.  Additionally, at 16 lbs lighter, Ayers’ 40-yard dash time of 4.88 was .2 slower than that of Houston’s.  While both of these players are classified as outside backers, they bring a very different skill-set respectively.  Defensive scheme will be the determining factor when a specific team decides between the two.