Will the Pittsburgh Steelers draft another running back this year? More importantly, will they draft another running back with their currently scheduled first pick in the 2020 NFL Draft at 49th overall in the second-round? We’ll find out the answers to those two questions a week from now but in the meantime, Daniel Jeremiah of the NFL Network said Thursday during his final 2020 pre-draft media conference call that he believes the best fit for the Steelers at running back in the second-round will be FSU product Cam Akers.
For starters, Jeremiah said Thursday he doesn’t believe that any of the other top five running backs on his final 2020 positional draft rankings, D’Andre Swift, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Jonathan Taylor and J.K. Dobbins, will still be on the board come time for the Steelers second-round selection next Friday.
“The guy who I would love to see in Pittsburgh — sometimes I just watch players and go, okay, the way this guy plays kind of reminds me of a Pittsburgh Steeler and that’s kind of from having been in that division with the Ravens and the Browns, I have so much respect for how the Steelers play and the brand of football they play, and I don’t think Dobbins will be there,” Jeremiah said. “I don’t think Taylor will be there. I think those top four guys, there’s a good chance they’re gone.”
Jeremiah then went on to say why he likes Akers and why he best fits the Steelers as their second-round selection this year.
“Cam Akers is one when I watched him, he is so competitive and so tough, and their [FSU’s] offensive line, I could walk down the street here outside my house, and I can promise you I could find a very similar offensive line to the one he ran behind at Florida State, and this kid didn’t complain, he just put his head down and ran hard and made the most of it,” Jeremiah said. I just think there’s that toughness to him that kind of reminds me of a Steeler. He catches the ball out of the backfield. I think he’s got more to offer in that regard. He was a five-star recruit. So, the talent is there. There’s tremendous talent with this kid, and I think if he was in a little better situation, we’d be talking about him even higher than he is.”
Jeremiah went on to say where he has Akers ranked in this year’s draft class and reiterated his want for the FSU product to land with the Steelers.
“He’s my 55th player,” Jeremiah said. “He’s my fifth back. I thought at the combine, when he ran 4.47, his field workout was phenomenal, but that kid to me, he looks like a Pittsburgh Steeler to me. I would love to see him in that offense.”
It’s obvious that Jeremiah has Akers ranked outside his top 50 entering the final week and the same goes for Gil Brandt, who has the FSU product ranked 107th overall in his final Hot 150 players. Dane Brugler, on the other hand, has Akers ranked 71st overall on his top 100 player board. Conversely, Pro Football Focus has Akers as their seventh overall running back in this year’s draft class and ranked 108th overall.
There seems to be a lot of ranking and overall value volatility when it comes to Akers with less than a week to go before the start of the 2020 NFL Draft. For the most part, it seems like most draft analysts have him as their fifth-ranked running back in this year’s draft class. At best, Akers appears to be the No. 3 overall running back in this year’s draft class in the eyes of a few draftniks.
Akers exits college having rushed for 2,875 yards and 27 touchdowns on 586 total carries. He’s also caught 69 passes for another 486 yards and seven touchdowns. He only had 19 explosive runs during his college career, however. He also only rushed more than 20 times in a single game six times during his college career. Can he be an every-down running back in the NFL? If the Steelers ultimately select him in the second-round next Friday, he better be.