NFL.com First Draft | 2011 Combine Workout
What he brings: Some project Ayers as a 3-4 OLB, but he has the prototypical frame for a strong side linebacker in a 4-3. He can line up over tight ends and use his long arms and strong upper body to set the edge against the run. He does an adequate job locating the ball and getting off blocks, and though he's not an elite athlete and has limitations in coverage, there is a lot to like about the burst and determination he shows as a pass rusher.
How he fits: The only really stable linebacker that the Titans have is MLB Stephen Tulloch and he could leave in free agency. Both OLBs Gerald McRath and Will Witherspoon are decent but not explosive playmakers and there is virtually no depth here. Ayers can line up at SOLB and not only solidify the run defense, but also give the Titans a pass rush with sack potential, as well as help on special teams.
- ESPN.com draft analysis
"Ayers surprised a lot of people with some mediocre workouts at the combine, given his reputation for athleticism, but he bounced back at his pro day. And as I've said before, the tape doesn't lie. This is a guy with the range of skills to help a team early. A good fit on the edge in the Chiefs' system, Ayers fills an obvious need at outside linebacker in the 3-4 and isn't just a pass-rusher. More in the Mike Vrabel mold, he can cover, rush and tackle well against the run."
- Mel Kiper Jr., ESPN.com
"Ayers is very impressive on the hoof, and he has the speed and athleticism to make an immediate impact at the next level. He has the range and ball skills to play strong side linebacker in a 4-3, and the balance and closing burst to play outside linebacker in a 3-4. He lacks the lower body strength to be stout against the run but uses his long arms to keep blockers away from his body and flashes the ability to quickly shed. Ayers is a versatile athlete with great measurables. He projects to be selected in the middle of the first round."
"There's a fine line between being a versatile athlete and being ill-fitted for multiple positions. Ayers flashed big-play ability as a sophomore with 14.5 tackles for loss, six sacks, four interceptions and two forced fumbles, and he improved his consistency in 2010 (career-high 68 tackles, including 10 tackles for loss, four sacks, two interceptions and two forced fumbles). While Ayers is athletic, his 4.81 40 at the combine showed he might lack the speed to be an edge-rushing linebacker and chase speed backs to the sideline. He lacks great instincts, but he does maintain gap discipline and enjoys the physical nature of playing linebacker, so he could ultimately prove to be a good fit inside in a 3-4."
- CBSSports.com/NFLDraftScout.com Overview