For the second time in four years, the running back-needy Bucs passed on a Florida State star.
The good news for Cam Akers is he didn’t have to wait too long Friday night, going in the second round to the Los Angeles Rams with the No. 52 overall pick.
Akers arrived at FSU in 2017 as one of its top five signees of the modern recruiting era. But he also arrived at a time of turmoil in Tallahassee. The Seminoles had two head coaching changes over his three seasons and fielded some of the worst offensive lines in recent Power Five history.
It was so anemic that college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit said during ABC’s broadcast Friday that Akers is the rare college superstar you should feel sorry for.
Despite the questionable blocking in front of him and the chaos around him, Akers still put up solid numbers. He broke the freshman rushing record set by Dalvin Cook, a Pro Bowl back for the Vikings this past season and, before Akers, the last FSU great the Bucs passed on in 2017. Akers joined Cook and another superstar, Warrick Dunn, whom the Bucs wisely selected in 1997, as the only Seminoles with multiple 1,000-yard seasons. The Mississippi native ranked among the top six in FSU history in rushing attempts (586), yards (2,874) and total touchdowns (34).
The question now: Can Akers truly live up to his five-star billing at the next level? He is a sturdy 5 feet 10, 217 pounds. He’s a capable receiver and could be a change-of-pace wildcat quarterback, too. And Akers was the fifth-quickest back at the NFL scouting combine, so his speed should not be a major question, either.
The Rams needed a back such as Akers after releasing two-time All-Pro Todd Gurley last month. Akers is the first FSU player drafted this year and ensured that the Seminoles had a player selected in one of the first two rounds for the eighth consecutive year. FSU’s other main prospects, defensive backs Levonta Taylor and Stanford Samuels, are likely Day 3 selections.
Akers was the fourth running back chosen in the draft, behind first-rounder Clyde Edwards-Helaire (Chiefs), and Day 2 picks D’Andre Swift (Lions) and Jonathan Taylor (Colts).