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DE, Robert Ayers, Tennessee

DE, Robert Ayers, Tennessee

At A Glance
Position 1:  Defensive End Height: 6-3
Position 2:  Weight:  272
Class:  Senior Age:  
Projected Round:  2nd  40time:  4.77
Combine/Proday Results
Bench Reps:  18 Vertical:  29.5
20yd Split:  2.78 Broad Jump:  8'6"
10yd Split:  1.66 20yd Shuttle:  4.51
3 Cone Drill:  7.58  

Pros:  Powerfully built athlete. ... Good lower-body strength to hold up at the point of attack. ... Flashes the ability to anchor and split double-team blocking off the edge.

Cons:  Lacks an elite first step or the straight-line speed to be true edge rusher. ... Relies more on varying his speed off the snap and strength at the point of attack, rather than pure athleticism to make plays.

Styg's Broncos Fit:   Ayers' technique really impressed me, and later, when I read that the knock against him was that he didn't have a good first step, it seemed to me that the other evaluators were missing the point.  While 4-3 teams are complaining that Ayers isn't quick enough off the edge to help them with their pass rush, 3-4 teams will be anticipating getting a great value.  Ayers anchors well vs. the run, and is great at keeping low and keeping blockers away from him.  He has all the moves, and specializes in changing up his first step - sometimes quick, sometimes slower, to keep the blocker off balance.  His experience and success at DT should give him the right attitude to contribute quickly, and his football intelligence should make him an attractive option for McDaniels and Co.  The drawback is his relative overall inexperience lining up as a starter.  Recognition and other playing-time-centric skills may be undeveloped, or he may be the classic "one-year-wonder" of draft bust fame.  From my viewpoint, what he can do is for real, but he will have to expand his game to guarantee a spot on the defensive line long-term.  Four stars for what he is, and what he can provide right now.

Around MHR:

Speaking of Mike Mayock, do you see he has Robert Ayers DE rated as his #1 DE?  I don't take that lightly.    ~swg777


Around SBNation:

From Scouting Report at Mocking the Draft:

Ayers is a strong defensive end who is an asset against the run. He stacks and sheds really quickly and knows how to properly use his hands. Technically sound tackler who delivers a wallop. For a one-year starter, Ayers has good playing intelligence which helps him get to the ball faster. Does a really nice job handling the backside contain.

From "Scouting Report: Robert Ayers" at Niners Nation:

He wasn’t a standout at UT, but had an impressive Senior Bowl and combine interview/work out session, climbing up many team’s draft boards. He isn’t known for upper body strength, but for his strong lower body, quick legs, and ability to make quick cuts to the inside of the O-line. At 270 lbs he might not be your classic 3-4, and could be transitioned over to an OLB role, but nevertheless it is important to take a gander at the guy and what he could bring to the table.


Scouting Reports and Offsite Links:

  • Entering the 2008 season, Robert Ayers was a fringe prospect at best. After a season where he was consistently in the backfield and finished with 15.5 tackles for a loss, combined with a strong Senior Bowl performance, he looks like a first day pick. He was arrested for assault early in his career at Tennessee, but by all accounts he learned from those events and became a team leader. However, there is a big concern about any player who was truly productive for only one year, but Ayers’ strength and ability to play multiple positions on the line is intriguing. He is a bit of a high risk pick, while offering starting quality upside.  [see more...]
  • Didn't take over a starting job until his senior year but made the most of it and came through with a terrific campaign...Led the Volunteers in sacks and tackles for a loss as a senior...Named first team All-SEC by the league’s coaches in 2008...Also played a little linebacker for the Vols...Missed his freshman season in high school after having shoulder surgery and played his last two years of high school ball with a torn labrum...Was charged with aggravated assault as a freshman at Tennessee but it was eventually reduced to misdemeanor assault and he pled guilty to a lesser charge...Has reportedly learned from those off-the-field transgressions and matured a great deal...An underrated and developing prospect who appears to have the physical tools you look for...A fast-riser whose stock soared during the pre-draft process.  [see more...]
  • Ayers struggled in his first three seasons as a Tennessee Volunteer, but he took over a starting role at defensive end as a senior and flourished. He led Tennessee in sacks and tackles for loss and was named to the All-SEC First Team by the conference's coaches. 2008 was a great year for Ayers and he has not missed a step in 2009. He was awarded with defensive MVP honors at last month's Senior Bowl.   [see more...]
  • A powerful lineman on the outside with a natural burst and very impressive pop on contact. Does a great job changing his pass rush between speed and power and uses his length and suddenness well to disengage from blocks. Has great closing speed on the outside and dips well to gain leverage off the edge. Plays strong at the point of attack vs. the run.   [see more...]