Today's profile features one of the top prospects at a position of need for the Saints (at least as perceived by many on CSC), and whom some (well, at least Bucky Brooks) project may be on the board when the Saints choose at #24 in the first round.
Akeem Ayers is his name, and outside linebacking is his game.
Here's the tale of the tape on Ayers, according to cbssports.com:
Height / Weight: 6-4 / 255
Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
College Experience: UCLA, 3 years
Make the jump to read more about him...
Bucky Brooks of nfl.com had this to say about Ayers in his breakdown of the linebackers:
He is a sideline-to-sideline chaser with good instincts and awareness. He flows well to the ball and shows a penchant for creating turnovers. In the running game, Ayers is stout at the point of attack. He has long arms to quickly separate and shed from blockers. As a pass rusher, he's capable of slipping past blockers and has the hand skills to win isolated battles. He has a good feel for reading the quarterback's eyes and his six career interceptions reflect his potential as a zone defender. While he continues to need refinement in man technique, he has the potential to develop into an every-down player.
Possible landing spots: New Orleans, Atlanta, Chicago
And here is cbssports.com's overview of Ayers:
The No. 1 defensive end prospect on the West coast coming out of high school, it was a mild upset when Ayers redshirted in 2007. His emergence as a playmaking outside linebacker a year later was not a surprise.
Ayers only started three of 12 games as redshirt freshman. He was named honorable mention All Pac-10 with 40 tackles and five tackles for loss, including four sacks.
Ayers' breakout sophomore campaign -- 55 tackles and consistent flashes of big-play ability with 14.5 tackles for loss, six sacks, four interceptions (two of which he returned for touchdowns) and two forced fumbles (returning one of these for a score -- put him on the NFL radar.
Ayers also drew extra attention from scouts. His big plays dipped, but he developed more consistency overall, posting a career-high 68 tackles, including 10 tackles for loss, four sacks, two interceptions and two forced fumbles.
Among the most athletic and versatile defenders in the draft, Ayers' upside appears limitless. Scouts would be wise to remember the transition other athletic and only moderately instinctive linebackers like Derrick Johnson, Keith Rivers and Aaron Curry have had in transferring their skills to the NFL before falling in love with Ayers' flashy plays.
To read cbssports.com's full analysis of Ayers, go here.
So, now you have two perspectives on Ayers. Add that to your own perspective, vote in the poll, and fire away in the comment section below. If you have another OLB prospect you prefer in the 1st round, let us know who it is, and link to some info to inform us.
And check back for the Fleur-de-Links post that is to come in the next couple of hours.