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Can somebody explain Robert Ayers to me?

Discussion in 'Patriots Draft Talk' started by patchick, Apr 10, 2009.

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  1. patchick

    patchick Moderatrix Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    No prospect in this draft confuses me more. The closer I look, the less I understand. Ayers was considered an underachieving, undermotivated malcontent without a position until his senior year, which was much improved but not world-beating playing at a position he's unlikely to play in the NFL. His measurables are nothing special (fast 40, but 18 reps & 29" VJ matter more for a DL). And as far as I can tell, he still has no position.

    Yet he's routinely called a first-rounder. Mayock has him ranked as the #1 DE in the draft!

    I know he had a great Senior Bowl, but there's got to be more to it. Can somebody explain this guy to me? And if the Patriots were to draft him, where would he play?
  2. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    The consensus here is that Ayers would play ILB for us.
  3. dryheat44

    dryheat44 Rookie

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    #75 Jersey

    I think my bafflement at drafting this underachieving, relatively unathletic, homeless in BB's defense prospect is well-documented. I had him as a possible free agent.
  4. PATSNUTme

    PATSNUTme Paranoid Homer Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I guess you would call him a high risk- high reward prospect who could be a total bust. If the Patriots do draft him they will have done their homework to make sure, as well as they can, that he won't be a bust.

    My guess is that they will take a pass on him and a 4-3 team will take him.
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2009
  5. Box_O_Rocks

    Box_O_Rocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I dissent.
  6. patchick

    patchick Moderatrix Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Don't leave us hanging, now! OLB? TE? KR?
  7. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    As one of the first one this board to bring Ayer's name up, let me have a try.

    First, I'm not convinced Ayers is a top 15 pick like many mocks have him. I certainly wouldn't go out on a limb like Mayock and trumpet him as the best defensive player out of this draft in 2-3 years. But I do think he has a lot of good point and is probably a legitimate late 1st/early 2nd round pick.

    What stands out about Ayers to me is two things: his versatility, and the completeness of his game. More than any DE in this draft he can play the run and defend the pass as well as pressure the QB. Everette Brown and Brian Orapko seem more one dimensional to me. Ayers is to my mind without doubt the best run-defending 4-3 DE in this draft (I am not including Tyson Jackson). He has a nice motor and array of moves and seems particularly strong inside. He has good hand technique and is adept at taking on offensive lineman. And (perhaps because of his background as an ILB in high school) he has good ball awarenessand skills. He has excellent size. And he has terrific positional variability, having played LB, DE and DT at various times for Tennessee.

    Where Ayers seems questionable is in terms of his lack of elite speed as an edge rusher. However, if a 4-3 team is looking for more of a complete DE who can defend the run and drop into coverage as well as purely rush, then Ayers seems worthy of consideration.

    Because he may lack the pure speed to be an effective outside rusher, because he has a nice array of inside moves, and because of his ability to take on OLs, I could see Ayer's best fit being inside rather than outside. He lacks the size to be a DT. I'm not sure he has the necessary play recognition and pass coverage skills to be a 3-down ILB, but I hope the Pats are at least looking at him there to see if he might be a fit.

    What Ayers lacks is elite
  8. Box_O_Rocks

    Box_O_Rocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    My dissent is in relation to a consensus viewing Ayers as an ILB, a minority projects him in that regard, the majority seems to be seated at your table scratching their heads and looking confused. Having only seen him play in the Senior Bowl, I have a positive impression, but no firm conviction. Highlights in the overview below underline my lack of conviction:
    "Caught fire at midseason"... Coincidentally, his catching fire occured about the time a particularly self-centered individual might suddenly twig to the fact that his hopes of an NFL career (read $$$) were languishing in the shadows...if not at the back door ready to be set out for the next day's trash collection.

    If the player who may not be named lest his mention elicit a G-20 conference is no better than a third round value to the eminent Michael of Mayock and Sir Charlie D'Casserly, I'm perplexed as to why Mr. Ayers enjoys such strong support. Perhaps I should have paid more attention to Machiavelli? Further, in NFL Draft Scout's performance analysis he grades out at 6.1 and 7.7 for 'Strength at the Point' and 'Run Defense' respectively - that other nameless individual has similar scores of 6.4 and 7.8...

    In closing, I again go to NFL Draft Scout for a look into the crystal ball of potential:
    It is what it is. [​IMG]
  9. BlackFrancis

    BlackFrancis Rookie

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    I've got to say, I don't get Mayock's obsession with Ayers either. If this guy made an effective pass rushing move during his career at Tennessee, I guess I missed it. Folks were gaga over his Senior Bowl but I saw the same things he showed at Tennessee - just trying to turn the corner.

    I cannot see Ayers being a successful linebacker in the NFL. In my eyes, his only position as a pro will be as a 4-3 DE and I fully expect him to disappoint, much like he did in college.
  10. patchick

    patchick Moderatrix Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Mayo, is your 1st/2nd valuation as a 4-3 DE or as a 3-4 ILB project?
  11. VJCPatriot

    VJCPatriot Rookie

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    What a minute, are we drafting Ayers as a defensive end, ILB, or tight end?
  12. Box_O_Rocks

    Box_O_Rocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I'm leaning toward #3 QB.
  13. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I'd say he's a legitimate 20-30 pick as a 4-3 DE. I'd guess he's more like an early to mid 2nd as an ILB conversion project. Unless the FO were convinced that he was absolutely the real deal I wouldn't go for him at 23, and my best guess is he will be off the board before I would take him as an SILB. At 34 I would be tempted depending on who else was availabled at the time. At 47 I would be very interested if the FO had a positive eval of him.

    I suspect that one of the biggest influences on the Pats' evaluation of Ayers will come from Jerod Mayo. Mayo played extensively with Ayers last year, and BB clearly values his football smarts. Ayers and Mayo teams up inside one some plays, including one beautiful play on Ayers' highlight film where they both came up the middle on a nice sack. I think that if Mayo were high on Ayers as an SILB counterpart that would have some weight, though obviously it wouldn't be the last word on the matter.
  14. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I should add that I can see a team like the Eagles jumping all over Ayers with one of their two first round picks. Philly loves to draft DEs, and Jim Johnson could probably use Ayers' skill set to maximum advantage. They like stouter DEs who can stand up to the run but still rush and who have some versatility, as opposed to the Indy kind of speed rusher model. Ayers has the same kind of size and build as Trent Cole, and would be a nice complement to him. I see Ayers definitely being in the mix at 21 and 28, along with OT, TE, RB and S.
  15. Seneschal2

    Seneschal2 Rookie

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    I'd also hope that Mayo would fill him in on the character side of Ayers. Reportedly, both have matured since their freshman days, when Ayers and Mayo were both charged with aggravated assault, for their involvement in a fight between football players and a campus fraternity.
  16. Ochmed Jones

    Ochmed Jones Rookie

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    Very nice, and I concur 100%.

    The thing with Ayers remains, he started only 2 games prior to his senior year and the coaching staff at UT considered him a major underachiever.

    Whoever takes him has to ask themselves, can they motivate this kid to perform, or will hemake them regreet taking him.
  17. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    The charges against Mayo were dropped - I believe that he wasn't actually involved and was mistaken for another player, though I don't recall the exact story. Ayers was definitely involved, but appears to have matured, for what it's worth.
  18. FilPats

    FilPats Rookie

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    Are you referring to the name who cant be mentioned here . . . . Barwin:D
  19. Seneschal2

    Seneschal2 Rookie

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    I do recall the exact story and purposely left out the details as they were just freshmen. Point was/is that Mayo may be able to recommend him as a good teammate -- or not.
  20. VJCPatriot

    VJCPatriot Rookie

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    Ayer's scouting report reads somewhat similar as he's only had one good season, his senior one. Except people want to convert Ayers 272 lb body into the ILB position. I'm not quite sold that he has the agility to be an inside linebacker. It reminds me too much of the painful failure with the Klecko experiment who had similar size. Considering the uncertainty of the conversion, why are people so much more 'at ease' with considering Ayers a 1st round ILB prospect and dismiss Barwin as 'too risky' as a 1st round 3-4 OLB?

    Underachieved early on in his career...Just 1 year of starting experience...Wasn't overly productive.

    So Robert Ayers has started exactly the same number of years on defense as Barwin?

    http://www.draftcountdown.com/scoutingreports/de/Robert-Ayers.php
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2009
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