6-2/218 Boston College
Pros: Has nice speed and can make plays in pursuit. Is a capable tackler. Has decent hips and footwork when working in man coverage for a player his size. Does a nice job coming off the edge as a blitzer and when attacking the line of scrimmage. Works best when up near the line of scrimmage.
Cons: Lacks speed and quickness to impact at cornerback at the next level. Will take some poor angles at times and whiff on some tackles in the open field. Is not a big-time hitter.
Overview: He's an intriguing player because he was essentially a backup linebacker for three years, but then moved to cornerback this past year. The fact that he wasn't as big a liability as you'd expect from a former linebacker, implies intelligence since the learning curve didn't seem to overwhelm him. That indicates his versatility. Although he lacks experience at that position, his best NFL position is probably safety.
NFL Forecast: His NFL success will depend entirely on the scheme and what position he plays. Let's just throw cornerback out the window. He could play linebacker at the next level, but probably would need to bulk up and would probably only be a nickel guy rather than a starter. Just doesn't tackle or show the natural instincts of a run stopper to really impact there. In a similar scheme to that which Tony Dungy ran in Indianapolis, he could be an average starter, but would probably be replaced as a starter within a year. I would call him a poor man's Clint Session, as far as linebacker potential goes. His upside seems to be at safety, since his experience at linebacker and cornerback should help him there. He's good enough in coverage to match up with tight ends, and is physical enough a run stopper to not be a liability there. I think his most likely role would be as a dime safety. Probably not going to be a starter. If so, he'll probably only be an average starter at safety. The type of player that is good enough to start for a year or two, but eventually a team is going to want to find an upgrade. But if he can impact special teams early on, that will offset some of the time it takes for him to learn a new position like safety.
ATL Forecast: He could help the Falcons improve their depth at safety. Because of his experience at corner, you believe the coverage aspects of transitioning to safety won't be too much of a hurdle. And because he's a capable run stopper, he wouldn't be a liability in dime situations. Think of him as a similar and slightly bigger version of Antoine Harris, who was a college corner, but right before he landed in Atlanta, the Titans tried to convert him to linebacker. His impact on defense could potentially be similar to what Harris did for the Falcons in 2007. That wasn't a lot since he made almost no plays, but he wasn't a liability in nickel and dime situations.
Value: Akins is worth a look as a late round prospect for a team looking for safety depth. He's really an upside guy, so he'd only be worth drafting for a team that has the time to develop him.
Scouting Reports of safeties in the 2009 NFL Draft
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