Photo of Demarcus Ayers
Drafted By: Steelers
  • Round 7
  • Pick 8
  • Overall 229

Combine Results

Grade
5.02 ?
  • 4.72 SEC
    Top Performer
  • 33.0 INCH
    Top Performer
  • 123.0 INCH
    Top Performer

Draft Analysis:

Ayers will compete early for kick return duties. It's a bonus if he can find a way to earn a role as a slot/multi-purpose weapon. --Mark Dulgerian

  • 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.


Pro Day Results


40-yard dash: 4.66 seconds
Vertical: 35 inches
Broad jump: 10 feet
Short shuttle: 4.33 seconds
3-cone: 7.0 seconds

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.

Draft Projection

Undrafted free agent

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
8.00-9.00 Perennial All-Pro
7.50-7.99 Future All-Pro
7.00-7.49 Pro Bowl to All-Pro Ability
6.50-6.99 Good NFL Starter with Pro Bowl Potential
6.00-6.49 Chance to become good NFL starter
5.70-5.99 Could become early NFL starter
5.30-5.69 Backup or eventual starter
5.15-5.29 Developmental prospect or special teams potential
5.01-5.14 Back end of the roster
5.00 50/50 Chance of making the roster

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