There aren’t any exceptional running back prospects in the 2020 NFL Draft. While some could be valuable contributors as rookies, none have established themselves as potential superstars. Florida State’s Cam Akers is one of the players who could be most the most impactful first-year running back, but where he ranks among his peers varies quite a bit.
Despite playing behind a subpar offensive line, Akers eclipsed 1,000 rushing yards for the second time in his three year college career in 2019. He tallied 1,144 yards and 14 scores on the ground while averaging 5.0 yards per carry last season. He also caught 30 passes for 255 yards and four scores. He might be a top five back available, but he won’t crack the first round.
Akers doesn’t need top-notch blocking to be productive. His vision and ability to create his on running lanes through cuts set him apart from his competition.
One thing he struggles with is pass protection. Even if he is a starting running back in 2020, it’s not likely that he’ll be his team’s top option on offense. That means he needs to avoid being a liability when needed to protect the quarterback. Akers is also learning to be a factor as a receiver, but has problems hauling in throws that aren’t right on target.
Here’s what scouts had to say about Akers.
He’s a three-down option with good feel for finding the crease near the goal line, but ball security needs to improve. He can be Leg 1 or 2 of a tandem rushing attack and is one of the more natural runners in the draft. — NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein
While Akers has an extremely high ceiling, some patience may be required as he evolves in a better situation to showcase his talent. In addition, Akers has to develop his passing down skill set. Akers has no physical limitations and he profiles as a productive starter in time. — The Draft Network’s Joe Marino
“He’s a really good back. He’s got a chance, I wouldn’t be shocked if he ended up being the second or third back to go off the board. He’s that type of talent.” — NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah
Mock Draft Results
Fantasy impact: Rookie year
Akers is on even ground with the other backs in his draft class, as unlikely that any of them will be selected with a top 20 pick. If he lands with a team that has a solid offensive line and likes to run the football, he could very well be the most productive rookie at his position from a fantasy projection. Akers is projected to be a starter or frequently utilized backup in year one.
Fantasy impact: Career
Akers might also have the best long-term potential in his class. He doesn’t rely on blazing speed, has patience, and has a sturdy build. It will play a large part in how long he lasts, but it’s hard to see a player with his skill set without work in the NFL. He has some things to work on, but could be more durable and consistent than all is peers in time.