Scouting Report: Physically I like the way Ayers is built in terms of an NFL future. He's got a bit of a squatty build, very muscular and good bulk especially in his lower body. I am not a huge fan of overly tall LBs, so I like the versatility that Ayers physique provides him. His body also looks like it could allow him to play inside in a 3-4 which is what I'd love to see him do. The real strengths of his game is he's a finisher. He gets to the football, and he takes the man down. He's got very good instincts in breaking down the run play, getting past blockers (although he prefers to go around a blocker rather than through them), but when he gets to the ball carrier he shows total disregard for their well-being. Sometimes he's almost too patient and is a little late getting to the play, at the expense of not being beating on playaction or a ball fake.
Draft Status: Honestly I don't know if Ayers is going to end up in the first round, mainly because of the group he's being compared to. Does he have first round talent? Probably, but I am not sure if he's got enough that stands out to put him among guys like Von Miller or Robert Quinn. If he ends up being taken somewhere between the 25th pick and the 45th pick, that would be a great situation for Ayers.
Final Analysis: I don't believe that Ayers is an NFL 3 down linebacker regardless what position he plays. I love his ability to stuff the run, and he's adequate in short zone coverage which makes him a nice choice for a team looking for a two down run blitzing backer. If he wants to be a more complete backer in the NFL, the areas of his game he needs to improve are his explosion, especially in pass rushing situations, and his speed, both in breaking down the play and getting to ball.
Reminds me of: Dhani Jones LB Cincinnati Bengals - When I watch Ayers play, Jones is the guy I keep coming back to. Both are squatty, smart players who aren't overly athletic, but have a knack for finding their way to the football. Both make lots of tackles but in the pros Jones doesn't get much else. Some UCLA fans are going to flame me for this comparison, but whilst Jones is not a star he has put together a very good 11 year career and Ayers can do the same.
Red Flags: None
Scouting Report written by Curt Popejoy