Fans’ Top Choice: LB Akeem Ayers

Posted by Chrissie Wywrot on February 28, 2011 – 5:47 pm

Far and away, the player Detroit Lions fans want to see more of is UCLA linebacker Akeem Ayers.

Ayers declared eligible for this year’s draft after his junior season.

“I felt I (completed) every goal that I wanted to do (in college),” he said. “I had a perfect opportunity to achieve one of my goals that I set out as a little kid, which was just to have a chance to play in the NFL. I have that opportunity right now and I plan on pursuing it.”

At 6-4, 255 pounds, Ayers could fit as a 3-4 rush player or a 4-3 linebacker, depending on how a team sees him.

On Sunday, Ayers said he had talked with teams about both options, but hadn’t gotten into detail.

“I feel like I can adapt to any kind of defense as far as 4-3 or 3-4 because of my versatility playing defensive end in college,” he said.

“I feel like adapting to any defense won’t be a problem.”

Adaptability is something the Lions are looking for in an outside linebacker.

While teams that run a 3-4 scheme are often looking for a specific build and skill set at the outside linebacker position, Head Coach Jim Schwartz says the No. 1 trait for his linebackers has to be versatility.

“It’s hard to hide one-trick ponies on defense,” he said. “You (may) have a guy who’s not a good pass-defender, he’s a really good run-defender, but you can’t choose whether the opponent offense is going to run or pass.”

So having players at linebacker who can do everything well is imperative.

As far as Ayers’ skill set, his strength has been in coverage.

“That’s something I believe I do well,” he said. “I think I’m a great standing-up linebacker.”

He says he’s done well rushing the passer, but he has room for improvement.

“I know I’m nowhere near reaching my peak,” said Ayers.

Watch more of Ayers’ interview at the NFL Scouting Combine

Posted in Blog | 52 Comments »

52 Responses to “Fans’ Top Choice: LB Akeem Ayers”

  1. By Ghost of Bobby Layne on Feb 28, 2011 | Reply

    Coaches that listen to the fans will be setting with them in the stands.

  2. By TW on Feb 28, 2011 | Reply

    Can’t believe this many Lions fans are mislead here, this guy has proven nothing on the field, he will be a bigger bust than Bailey, especially if he goes at 13.

  3. By Malcolm on Feb 28, 2011 | Reply

    I say no at akeem ayers. He’s two inches shorter than expected. and ran a slow 40 yard at only a 4.8

  4. By Rocky Bass on Feb 28, 2011 | Reply

    Amen Brother Ghost, Amen.

  5. By Jordan on Feb 28, 2011 | Reply

    schwartz and mayhew know what they are doing get rid of the bobby lane because the curse is over

  6. By JeremyB666 on Feb 28, 2011 | Reply

    The Lions should draft the way they have been drafting, pick the best player that is there regardless of position unless you have that position completely filled. Ayers would be an awesome pcik. So would Von Miller. Prince Amukamara would be perfect but there is no way Prince would fall that far in the draft.

  7. By Stat 77--Here comes the ROAR on Feb 28, 2011 | Reply

    This is not our guy…Body like a safety and tackles like a DB. Every film I have watched of him he goes for the feet, never wraps up. Bad pursuit angles. Doesn’t try hard.

  8. By Craig on Mar 1, 2011 | Reply

    I agree Jordan

  9. By Don on Mar 1, 2011 | Reply

    Who said that they are going to Listen to the Fans? Trust Me if they Really did’nt Like a player they would’nt pick him even if the Fans wanted him.
    If it so happens that the player that they like is the same player that we Like.
    Hey, Cool, I’ll go with that.
    I mean hey, I don’t know anyone who did’nt want Suh last year, The coach’s the Fans, hell even the players wanted him.
    And thank the Lord that they picked him.
    Anyway’s I really like Akeem Ayers, the guy was showing a lot of talent out there. And during his season.

  10. By Lance Manly on Mar 1, 2011 | Reply

    Sorry, Akeem was my first choice… prior to combine…

    A 4.83 40 yrd dash is weak… 17 Bench presses is weak…

    Remember last year Suh vs McCoy… McCoy posted weak numbers… and the rest is history. McCoy had a very sub-par season.

    So… Akeem off my 1st pick for Lions; hope #2 CB drops to Detroit; if not, it is OT or DE for me. Take Best Available.

    I’d even like the idea of getting a RB; one is compared to Emmit Smith… and is projected to go to Miami; just after our pick… take it or trade down for two late 1st round picks or an additional 2nd. Smith is probably done; Best’s double turf toe may take another year to heal. Maurice is old and Aaron can’t run inside. Another good RB couldn’t hurt.

  11. By Darren on Mar 1, 2011 | Reply

    If Amukamara is there and the Lions select this guy over him im going to be very dissapointed…

  12. By Preston on Mar 1, 2011 | Reply

    The only fans wanting to see more of Ayers are the fans who think they know football. This guy is not the man to fill the role at OLB for Detroit. I hope they draft Prince or Jimmy Smith who I think is the better prospect between him and Prince. Julio Jones is an outstanding receiver…they’re going to draft in reguards to the future….so don’t count out a DE or a RB.

  13. By Jarhead6981 on Mar 1, 2011 | Reply

    Wow, there are a lot of guys/gals here who know football better than most…I guess better than the coaches (according to THESE people of course). For the Schwartz/Mayhew era, it has been constantly and consistently reported that their policy is to take the best player available…PERIOD. So I will hazard a guess that this will continue. I think what Schwartz & Mayhew are doing, is giving the fans a taste of inclusion. This makes the fans feel like they are a part of the process making them more a fan than before. “Ghost”, yes, you need to change your moniker, I don’t need to be reminded of the past 50+ years. Jokes over buddy, lose the Ghost. And I can’t leave without talking to Preston. Wow, how DO you get that head of yous through a normal sized door? And why in heavens name aren’t you sitting next to Schwartz and Mayhew? I won’t have to explain sarcasm will I?

    I have been a fan since Bobby Layne and have never wavered. I hope it is time for the genuine fan to complete their dream. The time has arrived and I am confident in our future with the Lions THIS year. Will I be wrong? Maybe, but I don’t degrade my team saying I know better than those in charge. You folks who do, have a problem and don’t deserve the name “fan”. Know-it-all, maybe.

    To the rest, enjoy the draft and I’ll see you in the playoffs…this next season I hope.

  14. By S.J.D. on Mar 1, 2011 | Reply

    i agree Lance Manly— Ayers was my first choice but with a very unimpressive combine, i think Von Miller would be the best fit for the Lions.. If he is not already gone by the time it is our turn to draft.. he ran a 4.53 40 yard dash, had a 37″ vertical, and benched 225 lbs. 21 time… his combine is much more impressive than that of Akeem Ayers

  15. By Lionsfan420 on Mar 1, 2011 | Reply

    Prince will be gone by our pick and Jimmy Smith would be a reach. If we trade down to draft Jimmy Smith or an OT i understand. We wouldn’t select Ayers over Amukamura so no worries :) I think Akeem Ayers could be coached to be a pretty damn good football player. Everybody bases everything on 40 times during the combine. Sometimes that is good and sometimes it doesn’t help at all. What happens when you put pads and a helmet on some players? The film says it all. I like whatever player we pick because I have confidence it will be the right player for our system.

  16. By wayne on Mar 2, 2011 | Reply

    this guy is good, but there will be better available at 13. plus we are in a good spot to trade that pick. a # 13 pic won’t cost a team a huge contract, but will allow them to move up to get a need that should still be available. I think we will end up trading down, or picking up a RB, DE, or OT. there is alot of talent at those three positions and we have a need for all three.

  17. By eric on Mar 2, 2011 | Reply

    Hmm Akeem Ayers is a baller..make no mistake..some say he could be a superstar? I just hope we get a impact guy..whoever we get..i dont see them drafting a the first round..we goin defense with this pick..we got fox and hillard..if u got a player like question..u wanna put as many top notch ballers round him as that defense..both 1st and 2nd round picks should go 2 the defense..i aint makin much of this combine stuff..u cant tell what u got till u get em in with the vets in pads..jenkins from florida is a nice young aint the end of the world..if we dont get prince..von miller is no joke..hes a tackling machine..dont know but somebody good is gonna drop in our lap..The defense ends are special..hell if clayborne is there do u take him? its a toss up..

  18. By AJ on Mar 2, 2011 | Reply

    Lance i agree with you, after that weak performance not a smart pick, and we definetly need to draft ingram if he is there no question. i know we need a lot of things but talent first priorty is whats got us this far with the last two drafts.

  19. By Wichita,Ks#1LionsFan on Mar 2, 2011 | Reply

    Unless we get Nnamdi…. grab a flippin CB! If we get Nnamdi, Solder or Tyrone Smith would make me very happy!

  20. By Wichita,Ks#1LionsFan on Mar 2, 2011 | Reply

    But you know how Mayhew and Schwartz draft…grab the best player on available. And it has been WORKING! I would not be shocked(nor disapointed) if we grab Julio Jones or Mark Ingram! Two great talents that will most likely be there at pick 13. I said it first!

  21. By Don on Mar 2, 2011 | Reply

    Like I said before I would Love to get Patrick Peterson or Prince Amukamara. That is IF they are still there? If they are I believe that they are the Talent that this TEAM is Looking for. And that every other TEAM is Looking for Also.
    From what I have been hearing about Jimmy Smith, And the Character Issue’s The Less that I want to see him in a LIONS jersey.
    Brandon Harris Was actually Impressing More than Smith, The dude LOVES the Game! With Him and Delmas in the Backfield There would’nt be a whole lot of room for Wr’s or RB’s to get in.
    And I would be OK With taking a Solid RB To Go Along With Javid! A Power Back.
    And Unless we Trade up? Von Miller will be gone by NO#13 And if he Is’nt Then We would Probably take him. Unless One of the Top Corners are there.
    And As far as making Trades for more Picks, I am All in for that.
    The DBs are Deep, Real deep this year.
    I think that if you want a Good LBer then you should Pick him up from the DL, DE Catagories. Von Miller, Again will be gone.
    Of coarse Mayhew and Schwartz Seem to be Pretty Good at Picking out LBers. I do not recall A Lot about DeAndre Levy Until We picked him. And DAAAAAAAMN! Dat Dude is GOOD! So I hope that they find another LBer Like him.
    OK, OK don’t like Ayers, Well this Draft Has a Lot of LBers. And there are some good one’s. I’ll Try and track down some good ones.(:

  22. By blue anger on Mar 2, 2011 | Reply

    I would like to see a big angry back he doesnt need to be the fastest just the meanest to pound it for the finish then we will see the honululu blue gettin to the big games. our D is big and angry with a speedily growing reputation for smackin in the mouth. Our offense is crisp and efficient and has kept the chains moving now we need a little more Detroit Bad Boys on this side of the feld to gain the full respect were lookin for. but I have great faith in our coachs and GM they have done one hell of a job so far keep at it and those guys will give detroit some hardware!

  23. By DAN on Mar 2, 2011 | Reply

    ayers is not the guy for me if I were making the decisions. Unless one of the top end prospects like amukamara or von miller etc. fall, (which they won’t) I like the idea of moving down, gaining more picks. Other guys i really like at their current slot if they are even still around, Robert Quinn, I don’t care if he was off of football all of last year. He’s a beast and proved he still has the skills at the senior bowl and combine. A LBer can be had with good value in the second or third round. OT would be nice but I would move down to do it, because as I see it, the difference between the top tackle and say the 4th, is very minimal. whoever they take I just hope he’s productive day one!

  24. By simms on Mar 2, 2011 | Reply

    I think we really need a a field goal ball holder, I mean they are so important to the game and a long snapper, and if it gets windy, a kick off ball holder

  25. By Mike on Mar 2, 2011 | Reply

    i think that the lions should go with a cornerback with the first pick as they badly need the help. in this case, if prince amukamara isnt available i would go with brandon harris from miami. he always makes a huge play on the ball and he is a quick learner. After the first round i would get the best offensive tackle available, possibly derrick sherrod at that point. if the lions do not address the OL this draft, they still have a monster OL cless coming up next year with jonathan martin and michael brewster from usc.

  26. By Mike on Mar 2, 2011 | Reply

    correction: Jonathan martin is from stanford

  27. By TXLion on Mar 2, 2011 | Reply

    If the Lions take Ayers at #13 that will be a reach. They are better off taking the best player available in the first round even if that means taking Julio Jones, Mark Ingram, or an OT. It would fill a lesser need but you get a more valuable player that can help your team more for years to come than reaching down for Ayers. I really don’t see Ayers going until 20’s – 30’s overall. Also, there are a few quality LB’s that can be found in 2nd – 3rd rounds. There also is free agency (post CBA) to help fill needs that cannot be filled through the draft by taking best player available.

  28. By kw1442 on Mar 2, 2011 | Reply

    I really don’t see how fans were the most interested in Akeem Ayers. I watched video of him and it doesn’t seem like he is trying very hard, or he is just not very fast. not that impressed.

  29. By mark on Mar 2, 2011 | Reply

    Akeem sucks he is so weak the NFL players are going to eat him alive are you kidding me 17 bench presses. If Quinn falls it would be a huge mistake to pass on him. Can some please watch film on Qiunn VS castonzo and tell me he isn;t the real deal. He makes Castonzo look like a pee wee league player.

  30. By Mitch on Mar 2, 2011 | Reply

    AJ Hawk cut from the Packers. Wouldnt mind seeing a proven player with a Super Bowl ring come to Detroit in a position that we could really use some depth in. Plus that would give us a chance to pick up another key piece in the first round of the draft. Go Lions!

  31. By Gordie on Mar 2, 2011 | Reply

    He did 25 bench presses i believe but I agree he sucks. We definitely need an outside linebacker and corner. Then in the third they should take a OL. Do they have any other pick in the top three rounds? If we can get a shutdown corner and decent outside linebacker and pick up a couple linemen through the draft and free agency I think this team will be a completely different team.

  32. By eric on Mar 3, 2011 | Reply

    Do what u gotta do LIONS move up if u have 2!..we have got 2 have Mr. Von Miller..if u havent watched film on him..u need 2..a monster linebacker..he is super fast..takes on OTs..can cover..strong as an ox.slices thru the o line like a hot knife thru butter..super aggressive. scares the hell outta qbs…and hes a leader..multidimensional..true we need another corner.don i agree..go an get this guy..ayers dont bring it like this guy does..he plays possessed lol…for real..

  33. By rob on Mar 3, 2011 | Reply

    Look for the Lions to trade down if both top corners are picked. They will get two draft picks again, and more than likely get a solid corner/lineback and lineman with them; addressing both needs. They showed this ability the last couple years. This draft is said to not have any “knock out” players like in years past. Two for one would be more pleasing to me.

  34. By RYan on Mar 3, 2011 | Reply

    Please watch the youtube video Prince Amukamara vs. Blackmon. Prince gets steamrolled and a huge weakness is shown. Hes still prob the second best player available at 13 but if you want THE BEST FOOTBALL player at 13? Please watch youtube videos, “Gabe Carimi vs. Cameron Heyward ) and (Gabe Carimi vs. Clayborn.) besides one mistake against Clayborn, he abosulely dominates both games, and then he dominated Miami in 09. He is without a doubt the best tackle in the draft, even after watching Nate Solder’s vids. Would be a great move for the lions cause we could even trade down a couple spots, get more picks and he will still be avaliable. DONT DRAFT NEEDS, DRAFT THE BEST PLAYER.

  35. By BILLO313 on Mar 4, 2011 | Reply

    KERRIGAN!!! we need namdi for sure. Kerrigan could learn from Vanden Bosch and his motor and skill set are just to good to pass up. then go OL and LB!!!

  36. By derek on Mar 5, 2011 | Reply

    People want to trade up for miller, why not trade up for peterson, and then a lb or ol. right now mock drafts are having peterson going to the 49ers. why not offer the 49ers stanton pick 13 and maybe 3rd or 4th pick. that should work since the niners could draft a qb later and have a backup qb plus add a later round pick.

  37. By cjay on Mar 5, 2011 | Reply

    you’re all forgetting that combine numbers can look as impressive as hell but until the player gets drafted and plays in a couple games and produces, they mean nothing

  38. By david on Mar 5, 2011 | Reply

    @Bill I want Kerrigan too..he can play DE and OLB he ran a 4.53 and ask any OL at the senior bowl which defensive player gave them the most trouble it was Kerrigan..we probably can trade down two picks and still get him if Prince is not there..either him or Smith..and I also wouldn’t mind Mark Ingram..a good running game keeps Suh and the boys off the field longer and opens up Stafford for CJ and nate more

  39. By BILLO313 on Mar 7, 2011 | Reply

    FINALLY!!! somebody that sees what i see in this guy!! with him, if they double Suh, they will be leaving him one on one with a tackle and he has to much of a passrush skillset to handle one on one!!! what he lacks in size he makes up for in motor mindset and attitude!!

  40. By BILLO313 on Mar 7, 2011 | Reply

    …and Ingram with Best would be a beautiful 1 2 punch!! i wouldnt mind that either!!! Solder is good… but i watched him get beat to many times by quicker DE and LB. so im still not sold on him yet for a first rd pick.

  41. By Jackluv on Mar 7, 2011 | Reply

    I feel Prince will be a bust. I watched his tape and he got burned and actually was the second best corner on the Nebraska defense. The other guy didnt come out. Second I thin Jimmy smith has better upside. I watched him on tape and he hits. Big and can even move to safety is needed. He is better prospect and ran good time.

  42. By Jackluv on Mar 7, 2011 | Reply

    Jimmy Smith fits the mold the Lions are trying to convey. Hard hitter and will come up and smack you. He is tackles with a veagance. Prince tackles high and is a wrestling tackler. Jimmy Smith is more physical and can press coverage. He can match up well agains t big recievers. Prince did not do well against the better recievers. He had a good combine but I am looking at tape and that’s wher I amke my opinion. The tape doesn’t lie buddy. Smith provides to options for a secondary in need. He can play corner or be moved to safety if needed. I dont think heis a reach at 13 but maybe you do take an offensive lineman or d end and get one of the other corners in the second. You can get a linebacker in the third or move up since ther are so many of them in thsi draft. Also, in the later rounds pick up one of these runningbacks or recievers.

  43. By detroit on Mar 7, 2011 | Reply

    no doubt alot of defensive talent coming out this year.everyone thinks all these top guys will gone by 13. i see 4 teams in the top ten that should take a qb. others will go with what they feel is a quick fix on offense like julio jones. for sure he is a great player, but a defensive player that could impact the back field like suh has the line, com on man. we have quality guys on offense. the only exception i would make is a big rb to run between the tackles. was a kidd in combine played fb and mlb forget his name but 240 lbs of man and has a motor. a guy like that could help us in multiple postions. ingram would be good but does he have the durablity? there where several players that steped up in the combine that could be starters. i think we will have to make a hard decision at 13. i believe there will be more than 2 quality guys at cb and at lb to choose from. cant wait this is lion season. i’m cant remember the last time i was so excited about a season to get started oh yea when we drafted barry… god bless the lions and its fans 2011 restore the roar….

  44. By Nightrain on Mar 7, 2011 | Reply

    Here`s a win win 4 us.
    1) Sign free agent CB N. Asomugha
    2) Trade up to the 5th spot & get V.Miller
    Let me know what u guys think….

  45. By Jim Weller on Mar 10, 2011 | Reply

    Although Akeem Ayers may appear to be a good prospect, Schwartz and Mayhew know he isn’t enough of a stand out to be picked #13. Linebacker is a need but so is the offensive line. Although Backus was solid last year, he is getting up in age and believe it or not, the boat has sailed on Cherilus and he will never amount to being a 1st rounder. At 13, Prince, Peterson and Miller are the lions only options. Unfortunately they will all be gone by that point. No OT is worth #13 either cause none stand out from one another, don’t listen to Carimi. I suggest a trade down is the best option, first down to 16 or 17 cause teams are gonna want to jump on Julio at that point for a game changer, maybe Locker if he is still in the mix, which is highly likely. Then wait for an OT to come of the board in between, that’s when the sweepstakes begins for all OT as they won’t last long. If not gone, trade down again to around 20, where Ayers should still be on the board and if not there is a plethora of OT including Costanzo and Tyron Smith, with 20 nab one of them and use the other picks gained in round 2 and 3 to score Ijalama (second) and then maybe Edmund Gates in third, he is fast but is a hands catcher and big enough to compliment Johnson and relieve his double team. Then look for a CB with other second rounder. Just my opinion.


  46. By craig on Mar 12, 2011 | Reply

    Pull a Belichek and trade down and acquire more picks – the lions can address their immediate needs by opening the vault and signing the talent they need to fill the few gaps they have left. Trade it down or trade it away – the Lions are close and I really think the rest of the players in the league see that and it may be easier to attract top talent names to the Lions.

  47. By TheSonofTheSonofTheSun on Mar 12, 2011 | Reply

    If the lions want to look for a running back who will be available in later rounds who can be a power back to compliment jahvid best’s elusive gamebreaking speed then look no further than ALLEN BRADFORD, RB FROM USC. He is an absolute monster who can push a pile….he averaged over seven yards a carry in his final season

  48. By ron on Mar 12, 2011 | Reply

    we need to have a long look at aldon smith. He will be better then akeem and he is a very explosive sure tackler.

  49. By Jcspponer on Mar 13, 2011 | Reply

    The guy was a 3 4 linebacker and doesn’t have great coverage skills to play in a 4 3.I think we have learned are leason when we brought Larry Fotte and he looked lost all year.. I like they way that they have went out and grab the top guy no matter of postion. The say that defense is deep so you should be able to fine talent a lineback in the later rounds.

  50. By Gregory Hysell on Mar 14, 2011 | Reply

    alot of wanna be experts! u know nothing bout nothing but i will tell you this!! GO LIONS!!! This is the year!!

  51. By Ripple R on Mar 14, 2011 | Reply

    The Lions should construct a deal to move up to get OLB Von Miller and OT Anthony C in the first round. This would complete two urgent needs. MLB Greg Jones would also add insurance in the middle. This would work if the Lions are not clever enough to get veteran MLB Larry Foote from the Steelers.

  52. By keith on Mar 17, 2011 | Reply

    I watched the senior skills challenge on espn and two guys that stood out the most as good fits for the Lions were Texas Tech LB Von Miller and Boise State WR Austin Pettis. Miller is a freak and Pettis has great hands. I know Miller is an early first rounder and we would probably have to trade up to get him and thats allright by me. As far as Pettis, probably a second or third rounder, but I think he would make or offense the best red zone offense in the NFL, yes I said it. Megatron, Recepticon, Pettigrew, and Pettis= Unstoppable.

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