Photo of DeMarcus Ayers
Grade
5.17 ?
  • 4.72 SEC
    Top Performer
  • 33.0 INCH
    Top Performer
  • 123.0 INCH
    Top Performer
  • 5'9" Height
  • 31 1/4" Arm Length
  • 182LBS. Weight
  • 9 1/4" Hands

Overview

Ayers was an explosive, if undersized, running back from Texas when he arrived on the UH campus, but left after three years as one the best combination slot receiver/return specialists in the country. Getting the ball in his hands was important to Houston coaches, so he lined up as the primary kick returner as a true freshman, earning first-team All-AAC honors (37-1,021, one TD) while working his way into a starting spot the final three games of the year (11-130, one TD receiving). Ayers continued to return kicks in his sophomore year (34-592) but also started eight games as a receiver (33-335, two TD). With the exciting Greg Ward, Jr. operating as the team's quarterback (and leading rusher) in 2015, Ayers fed off that energy to earn first-team all-conference with 98 catches for 1,222 yards and six scores while going back to his roots as a running back at times (25-147, one TD rushing). He also moved from returning kickoffs to taking back punts, earning first team accolades there as well (28-290, one TD). In the Cougars' Peach Bowl win over Florida State, Ayers threw for a touchdown, too. That meant he had done just about everything he could as a collegiate offensive weapon, so he decided to head to the NFL instead of returning with Ward for another run in 2016.

Analysis

Strengths

Creates doubt in cornerbacks at the stem with exaggerated head and shoulder fake and aggressive jab step. Has working understanding of leverage in routes and works to create desired movement from defender. Gets off the line and into routes with forward lean and desired acceleration. Can slip initial tackler and add to his yards after catch. Talented punt returner with good ability to weave through traffic and find the open doors. Frame has more room for muscle.

Weaknesses

Smaller than ideal. Limited to slot work in the pros. Benefited from scheme that fed him bubble screens, speed outs and jet sweeps. Inexperienced route runner lacking work in more complex passing attack. Catch and run specialist with just 53.1 percent of his receptions going for first downs. Not as sudden as expected. Has shown struggles with double catches and focus drops. Slight hesitation into his routes off snap. Will have to learn to play against more physical corners looking to jam and body him.

Sources Tell Us

"Should have gone back to school and worked on his craft. Right now I don't think he can distinguish himself enough from others at that same position. I need to see those system guys transcend the scheme and I didn't see it." -- NFL personnel director

NFL Comparison

Quan Bray

Bottom Line

Ayers has some raw talent that is still in the incubation stages, but he surprised some NFL scouts with his decision to come out early. Ayers isn't the lateral "wiggle" player you expect to see when you first turn the tape on, but he can make the first tackler miss. At best, Ayers is a back end of the roster type receiver right now, but his punt return ability and a big combine could push his draft stock up a bit.
-Lance Zierlein
C
Grade Title
9.00-10 Once-in-lifetime player
8.00-8.99 Perennial All-Pro
7.50-7.99 Future All-Pro
7.00-7.49 Pro Bowl-caliber player
6.50-6.99 Chance to become Pro Bowl-caliber player
6.00-6.49 Should become instant starter
5.50-5.99 Chance to become NFL starter
5.20-5.49 NFL backup or special teams potential
5.01-5.19 Better-than-average chance to make NFL roster
5.00 50-50 Chance to make NFL roster
4.75-4.99 Should be in an NFL training camp
4.50-4.74 Chance to be in an NFL training camp
No Grade Likely needs time in developmental league.