2011 Draft Class - My Thoughts - 2nd Round

2nd Round - Pick #39

LB Akeem Ayers - UCLA

Akeem AyersAyers is an outside speed rusher that will add nicely to last years 1st round pick Derrick Morgan. At 6' 3" 254 lbs, he could fit into a defensive end scheme, but I tend to think he fits into a starting role at outside lineback, replacing either David Thornton or Gerald McRath. 

Ayers fills a real need for the Titans. Although last year the Titans had 40 sacks (32 in 2009), the defense didn't get the same amount of pressure on the QB during crucial points in the game. Whether that had something to do with the poor game calling by the coordinator or poor execution on the personnel, having another force on the outside is something that should help the team during the 2 minute drill (especially the DB's).

Positives

Versatility - He has the speed and skillset to play outside linebacker in our tradition 4-3, but also can put his hand down at the line and get a quick jump at the line.

Coverage Skills - He has the ability to cover that TE and has good closing speeds.

Ball Hawk - He has a knach for being around the ball we it comes free. He scored 3 defensive TD's at UCLA. Known as a true play-maker.

Negatives

Tweener - Lacks the stoutness to be a run-stuffer at the line, which could be a problem matching up in the wrong situation.

Combine Numbers - He had a very disappointing 40 time at the combine (4.83) and only had 18 reps at the bench press. He played much bigger and faster than these numbers indicated.

Lack of 3-4 Skillset - He is not versatile enough to play in a 3-4 as an outside linebacker. If the new coaching regime moves in that direction, it could be very difficult for Ayers to compete for time on the field.

Overall

In the long run this could be the player to watch from the Titans draft. This guy could be the next Keith Bullock, and I tend to think he will be a Titan for quite a number of years.