The NFL draft is just days away, and by this point each player has been analyzed, scrutinized, and romanticized by every NFL guru from Kalamazoo to Calcutta. We here at pigskinpress.com turn once again to our director of scouting Nathan Cooper to help us look deeper into the draft at some guys from the group of five that may be a real steal on draft day!
Selected in the 3rd Round of the 2010 MLB Draft by the Texas Rangers as an outfielder
Character – A
Medical – C
2015 – Suffered a grade three ACL tear and a torn MCL and bone chip in his right knee against Furman and missed rest of season
2017 – Suffered a head injury against Maryland
2017 – Suffered an undisclosed injury against SMU and missed game against UConn
2017 – Injured his left knee against USF
2018 – Did not participate in combine drills or run the 40 at his pro day due to a pulled hamstring
Very good catching skills/natural hands
Solid route runner
Slow off the LOS
Not a great blocker
Akins projects as an H-Tight End at the next level. At Central Florida, he played a majority of his snaps in the slot and at a flex wing position, but also was used in-line on a handful of plays per game. His first two seasons at UCF, he played receiver and kick returner, before switching over to Tight End in 2016. He also played four seasons as an outfielder in the minor leagues for the Texas Rangers before moving on to UCF. A former outfielder and wide receiver/kick returner turned tight end, tells you the type of athlete Akins is. He has very good reactive athleticism and shows competitive toughness on every play. In the run game, he isn’t a great blocker overall. He does, however, show the willingness and effort level to make blocks. He is very grabby at the POA and doesn’t show the strength to drive defenders. He struggles to adjust and stay with moving targets and grabs the outside of the shoulder pads. As the season went on, he looked to get a little more comfortable and effective in some of his blocks. On plays where he is blocking in-line, he comes off the ball almost a full second slower than everyone else. He may be able to overcome some of his blocking deficiencies if he can work on exploding off of the ball at the snap. What he lacks in blocking skills, he makes up for in the passing game. He’s a good route runner and ran a majority of the routes he’ll be running on Sundays. He has very good hands with the ability to pluck the ball from the air. He shows a decent release off of the LOS when he gets into his routes, but sometimes false steps off the line. He does a good job separating from larger defenders and doesn’t usually have a tough time getting off of them. He uses speed more than anything to create separation. He brings mismatch ability to the tight end position and is able to line up anywhere on the field. On all three downs, he can line up in-line, flex wing or as a receiver. Due to just sufficient blocking ability, he may not be able to play a lot right away on first and second down, although he could bring mismatch ability to go up against linebackers in base packages. On 3rd down, he can be brought in as another receiving threat. He should be adequate enough on special teams to play kickoff and KOR. Akins should come in and compete for the starting tight end position and at worse grab the spot by his second or third season.
NFL Comparison: Eric Ebron, Lions (1st Round, 2014) Akins and Ebron compare favorably in their abilities and style of play. Both struggle as a blocker in-line and on the outside, but they bring great hands and mismatch ability. The glaring difference between the two is that Ebron entered the league at 21 years of age while Akins will be coming in at 26.
Grade: 6.5 (Mid 2nd Round)
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