Todd Gurley is no longer with the Los Angeles Rams, released this offseason, so that could lead to a major role immediately for second-round rookie Cam Akers out of Florida State. Here are Akers’ odds at Mybookie to win 2020 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year as well as the Rams’ over/under win total.
The Rams selected Akers with the 52nd pick of April’s draft. He was a very touted recruit out of the state of Mississippi who had a good if not dominant career at Florida State. He chose FSU over Ole Miss, LSU, Tennessee, Alabama, and Georgia among several others.
As a freshman in 2017, Akers was FSU’s leading rusher with 1,024 yards and seven touchdowns on 194 carries, averaging 5.3 yards per carry and 78.8 yards per game. He broke FSU’s freshman rushing record previously held by Dalvin Cook, who is now starring with the NFL’s Vikings. Akers’ rushing total also ranked ninth on school’s single-season list.
The next year, Akers rushed for team-high 706 yards and six touchdowns, caught 23 passes for 145 yards and two touchdowns and had 15-yard kickoff return. His versatility resulted in team-best 866 all-purpose yards, Akers tied for fourth in ACC and 14th nationally with three 50-yard runs.
Then last season, Akers shot up draft boards by rushing for 1,144 yards and 14 touchdowns on 231 carries in 11 games. He added 225 yards and four touchdowns on 30 receptions and was 4-for-6 passing for 50 yards. Akers was named second-team All-ACC, tied for fourth on FSU’s single-season list with 18 touchdowns scored and ranked sixth on FSU’s single-season rushing yards list and seventh for single-season rushing touchdowns.
Akers was one of seven players nationally with at least three touchdowns in three games during regular season in 2019. He led the ACC and ranked sixth in NCAA with average of 10.0 points per game. He became the only player in school history with at least four touchdowns and a 2-point conversion in the same game, numbers he hit in 35-17 win vs. Syracuse.
He finished his career ranked fifth all-time at FSU with 586 rushing attempts. His 2,874 rushing yards and 11 100-yard games were sixth on FSU’s all-time lists. His 206 points scored were the sixth-highest total among non-kickers. Despite running behind poor offensive lines his whole career Akers was always productive.
The tough and elusive Akers measures in at 5-foot-10, 217 pounds with solid speed (4.47 40-yard dash) and good strength (20 bench reps). Despite lacking some big-play ability and having to do most of his damage after contact last season (5.0 YPC, 1.7 YBC), Akers posted one of the best YAC/forced missed tackle profiles in this year’s rookie class. The Florida State product will open his career in a wide-open competition with second-year back Darrell Henderson and Malcolm Brown to replace Gurley.
Coach Sean McVay said “we feel we’ve got three really good backs. What does that mean in terms of the distribution of carries? I think that’s to be determined based on how things play themselves out.”
Gurley only missed one game last season, and Brown worked well ahead of Henderson by playing 67% of the offense’s snaps. Gurley otherwise commanded at least 70% of the offense’s snaps in 10-of-15 games. It’s looking more and more likely that Akers will get the first crack as the starter, with Henderson playing a change-of-pace role and Brown taking the snaps in short yardage situations.
The Rams used a third-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft on Henderson, but his rookie season was not quite what everyone had anticipated. Henderson struggled in 13 games to get going with just 147 rushing yards and 187 yards from scrimmage.
GM Les Snead has continually lauded Akers’ ability to overcome poor blocking up front and a weak supporting cast at Florida State.
“I know Cam has proven in the ACC playing for a team basically that hasn’t been as manned with the type of players Florida State is used to in the past and he was able to overcome that and be their go-to guy so that’s going to be fun to watch to see how that evolves,” Snead said.