What has me in my feelings though is a man that grew up in Mississippi, became a high school star, and went on to Florida State University and was the definition of the word offense. Seriously pull out your FSU dictionaries and search offense. Right after throwing a prayer of a pass to your receivers, you’ll see his name. Cam Akers.
Cam Akers will dominate in the NFL. That much has already been written. However, the team that chooses him hasn’t, at least not until April 23rd. What makes Akers so special that I’ve been a willing conductor for Bills Mafia, allowing everyone onto his hype train? Is it his hometown southern grit? Is it his patience behind the line of scrimmage waiting for the right hole to open up? Maybe the overall aspect of his game where he can pass protect and be a weapon by catching the ball in the flat and making defenders look just silly. Let’s go on an adventure, not unlike the show Westworld, and figure all this out together.
Who’s Cam Akers?
Cam Akers came to FSU to become an elite running back not unlike the likes of Dalvin Cook and Devonta Freeman when they were there. Akers freshman year was very decent, in the terms that he ran for 1,024 yards average over 5.3 yards per carry while also racking up seven touchdowns on the ground, earning him the freshman rushing title once held by Dalvin Cook. That’s when NFL scouts should have taken notice of Akers. It’s not an easy feat on a team, much less a freshman running back, that went 7-6 while mired by that fact their head coach might be leaving for greener pastures.
His sophomore year started a little different. A new head coach came to town and promised everything on a gold platter. It would have been a silver platter, but that’s just not how Willie Taggart rolls. All eyes were on the true sophomore to continue to break out and run wild all over the ACC. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case, and the national media lost their love for Akers after he only went for 706 yards on 4.4 ypc and six rushing touchdowns.
Much can be said about the offensive line that year and years before, but Akers struggled to find any running lanes, and ultimately his game took a hit. Many scouts will take that into consideration on why Akers struggled. They’ll look at his potential and base theories off of what he can become. As fans though, we don’t take that logical response to anything. Didn’t produce? You suck and shouldn’t get drafted. National media is no different.
Lucky enough for us though, I don’t want to focus on year two for Akers. I want to look at his third year and see how he bounced back from adversity and how everyone except those in Tallahassee had written him off to not make it to the league. Akers turned everything around in year three. He played behind an offensive line that decided their only job was to move out of the way because big men were coming at them, and they honestly did not want that smoke.
He showed off his quick feet in space, his vision to dance around said big men, and make them look utterly silly. Akers went on to rush for 1,144 yards at a tune of five yards per carry, a career-high while also having a career-high in total touchdowns at 18. Akers took matters into his own hands or in this case his own feet and proved he can carry the load. He proved he wasn’t just a freshman fling.
After his junior season, he decided to get away from Tally and pursue his dreams of playing pro football. He was invited to the NFL Combine where many of the National Media finally started to notice him. He measured in a 5’10, 217 pounds, the likes of a bowling ball. The true test though would be his 40 time. The 40 time only tells scouts what they can confirm already on tape: Akers is fast. He went and ran an unofficial 4.47 seconds, making him money and all but confirming he won’t make it to the fourth round. If he does, it will be criminal.
Why Cam Akers Though?
Now you’re asking me “Casey, what does this have to do with the Bills?” Glad you asked, my friend. Here’s the thing: Devin Singletary is a great player and will be in a Buffalo uniform for many years to come. However, he needs a tag team partner. Cam Akers can be that for him. Akers possesses the balance and the power to be a short yard back, but he can also fly and be a jitterbug when need be. Akers has never had an offensive line as good as Buffalo.
Ultimately the Bills will be looking to upgrade every position come draft day, and with their first pick in the draft being at pick 54 in the second round, you have to believe a running back will be on Brandon Beane’s mind. There are other options besides Akers such as JK Dobbins or Jonathan Taylor, even D’andre Swift. All three of those players might be gone before pick 54, and you have to think certainly Taylor and Swift will be.
Swift and Dobbins are similar players, where both players are jittery and home run hitters almost in the same mold as Singletary. Taylor is different in the sense that he’s a more traditional running back, a between the tackles, lowering the shoulder, carrying the boom type player. Then we move towards Akers. Akers is the in-between player. He’ll lower his shoulder and destroy opposing players, but he also has dancing feet not unlike the great Kevin Bacon in the film Footloose.
Akers’s ceiling seems higher and potential is ever-growing. Running back is a position that does not last long in the sport we all love. With this fact in mind, we can take a look at the carries each of the top running backs in this year’s draft had in college.
Taylor: 926 carries
Dobbins: 725 carries
Akers: 586 carries
Swift: 440 carries
Akers has the second-lowest carries in the group. You have to look at that as a positive when it comes to the running back position. Akers still has mileage left on his tires and has the potential to help relieve pressure off Josh Allen and Devin Singletary.
This was a small background dive into Cam Akers, just brushing the surface of who he is and how he can help this offense, but what’s really important is that Akers fits who the Buffalo Bills are. He’ll shoulder the load when he needs to, and he’ll be a playmaker all day long. You’re allowed to join me on my train. We don’t have many more days left till the draft, and I won’t be setting a limit on the number of people that can come aboard, so you’re all welcome to come on and ride this crazy train straight to Vegas in a very responsible and social distancing way.