UCLA linebacker Akeem Ayers seems to be rising up draft boards after a strong pro day — one at which Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson was in attendance.
Ayers (6-2 1/2, 259) was largely considered a second-round talent, but appears to have put himself on the cusp of the first round after posting times of 4.74 and 4.73 in the 40, a 34 1/2 inch vertical leap, 9-5 broad jump, 7.19 3-cone drill, and 22 strength lifts.
Clearly, Ayers has some natural talent and of course, the Packers have a need at outside linebacker, which has led to speculation Ayers might be the Packers pick at No. 32.
Sure, there are some things to like about Ayers. First and foremost, he’s athletic.
In 2010, Ayers finished fourth on UCLA with 68 tackles, first (tied) with 4.0 sacks, second with 10.0 tackles for loss and second (tied) with two interceptions. He was a finalist for the Butkus Award, third-team Associated Press All-American and a first-team All-Pac-10 selection.
Secondly, Ayers is versatile. Not only can he rush the passer, but he can easily drop into coverage.
You’ll see quite a few flashes greatness in this lengthy highlight video.
If you’re short on time, this video of Ayers’ leaping, end zone interception and touchdown will adequately demonstrate his athletic ability.
Highlight videos never tell the full story, though.
For all of Ayers’ great plays, he’s also had some really bad ones. You need look no further than UCLA’s 2010 matchups with Oregon and Cal, which run spread and pro-style offenses, respectively.
Against Cal, Ayers was consistently pushed backwards in the running game and against Oregon he looks like the definition of bad angle, i.e. he consistently takes them on tackles and consistently gets burned.
Could the Packers take a chance on someone as maddeningly inconsistent as Ayers? I can’t see it happening, particularly in the first round.