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The Dolphins add a piece to the secondary with 4th round pick CB Walt Aikens out of Liberty College.  At 6'1, 203 lbs and 32 1/4" arms, Aikens has the size to go against some of the bigger wide receiver in the NFL, or more likely make the move to safety, as he started his career at Illinois as a safety.  He has nice feet with good hips and is very fluid in his backpedal.  Versatile, as he was asked to play both press and off man coverage.  Good, aggressive tackler and impressed at the Senior Bowl.  The concerns are that he may not have top elite speed and can be a little to aggressive in coverage with grabbing.  Average ball skills, but did have 3 interceptions his last season and tracks the ball well.  Overall, a very good athlete that ran a 4.49 40, and has very good size.  I expect this young man to end up as a safety for Miami with nice versatility.

 

 

Walt Aikens Highlights

 

Round 4, Pick 25
Walt Aikens, CB
Liberty | Senior
Hometown: Charlotte, NC
6-1 / 203 lbs.

ESPN INSIDER ANALYSIS

ESPN INSIDER ANALYSIS **

WHAT HE BRINGS
Aikens has excellent size and is a explosive athlete. While he lacks ideal top-end speed, he shows strong eyes in coverage and has above-average ball skills. Aikens has a lot of upside as a press man- or zone-type corner.

OVERALL FOOTBALL TRAITS

Production 1
2009: Illinois (10/5)  32-2-0 2010: DNP 2011: (11/11)  49-1-32012: (11/11)  51-6-1 2013: (12/10)  62-6-3 Career: 3 sacks, 6 FFs

Height-Weight-Speed 2
Athletic, muscular and well-built frame. Long arms (32 ¼) with adequate hand size (9 3/8). Ran strong 40 times at Pro Day (high 4.4's).

Durability 1
Possesses a thick and sturdy frame and has remained durable throughout his career. Above average top-end speed.

Intangibles 3
Outgoing personality and engaging individual. Comes from a supportive home. Adequate work ethic and does what is asked of him from coaches. Dismissed from Illinois after getting arrested for felony possession of stolen property in connection with theft of electronics from a dorm room in 2010. Pled guilty to misdemeanor theft.

1 = ExceptionaL | 2 = Above average | 3 = Average | 4 = Below average | 5 = Marginal

CORNERBACK SPECIFIC TRAITS

Instincts/Recognition 3
Strong eyes and awareness in zone coverage. Does a nice job of marking targets coming in and out of his area. Average anticipation and route recognition skills in man coverage. Makes quick diagnosis against the run.

Cover Skills 3
Feet are quicker than hips. Has some tightness in off man coverage. At his best utilizing press technique where he can use his size, length and strength to his advantage. Also fits well in a heavy cover-two scheme.

Ball Skills 3
Above-average size, strength and leaping to hold up in jump ball situations. Occasionally will be late getting his head around and locating the ball in trail technique. Shows quality hand-eye coordination and body control to secure catch. Not a threat after the catch.

Run Support 3
Steps up and willing to set the edge in the run support. Above-average strength and uses hands well to shed blocks. Takes adequate angles in pursuit. Strong wrap to latch on and get defenders off feet. Has a tendency to drop head and eyes which can lead to a few missed tackle in space.

1 = Exceptional | 2 = Above average | 3 = Average | 4 = Below average | 5 = Marginal

 
NFL DRAFT SCOUT

NFL DRAFT SCOUT DRAFT ANALYSIS **

STRENGTHS/WEAKNESSES

STRENGTHS:
Boasts a tapered, athletic build with long arms (32 1/4") and good overall muscle definition. Light feet and loose hips give him the fluidity to handle coverage responsibilities. Asked to play press-man and off-man often for the Flames, showing the athleticism and confidence to handle either role.

Gets an initial jam on the receiver when in press, turning and running with receivers fluidly. Good patience when off or zone but keeps his eyes peeled on the quarterbacks and has a quick burst to close on the ball. Good (perhaps not great) straight-line speed down the sideline, but accelerates smoothly and has a second gear, when necessary.

Highly competitive in run support. Aggressively fights through blocks, extending his arms to initial contact with receivers and is willing to sacrifice his body to knock ball-carriers to the ground. Sound drag-down tackler who rips at the ball. Good vision to set up blocks with the ball in his hands.

Impressed at the Senior Bowl with his confidence, quickly proving that he belonged on the same field.

WEAKNESSES:
May not possess elite top-end speed. Gets a little grabby down the sideline, as he's highly aggressive and will extend his arm. Tracks the ball well but shows only average ball-skills overall.

Pleaded guilty to misdemeanor theft charges in July 2010 and served two weeks in Champaign County jail for possessing a computer taken from a dorm room.

COMPARES TO: Keenan Lewis, New Orleans Saints - Aikens will have to work hard to develop into the consistent starter that Lewis has proven himself to be in successful stops with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Saints, but the aggression and athleticism are there to project him as a legitimate rotational player early in his career with the possibility of developing into a starter as he adjusts to the speed of the NFL.

--Rob Rang

PLAYER OVERVIEW

Aikens isn't your typical small-school prospect. He chose Illinois after being recruited by Clemson and Louisville and impressed as a freshman, starting five games at safety, recording 32 tackles and two passes broken up.

An arrest for theft prompted then-Illinois head coach Ron Zook to kick Aikens off the team and he wound up at Liberty, where he starred on the football team and also spent time with the Flames' basketball and track and field squads.

Aikens is a three-time Big South all-conference honoree, taking first-team honors in 2013 and second-team accolades in 2011 and 2012. His impressive play earned him a spot at the Senior Bowl, where he played well, impressing with his frame, athleticism and confidence.

He tied for the team lead in 2013 with 62 tackles and helped Liberty rank No. 5 in the country in interceptions (19), individually recording three interceptions to give him seven for his career. Aikens also forced six fumbles over his career.


 

 

NFL.COM ANALYSIS **

OVERVIEW

2013: First-team All-Big South selection. Played in 12 games and started 10. Tied for team lead with 62 tackles. 2012: Second-team All-Big South. Played in all 11 games, starting 10. 2011: Second-team All-Big South. Started in all 11 games. Led conference with three forced fumbles. 2010: Dismissed from Illinois coach Ron Zook after arrest on felony possession of stolen property. Pled guilty to stealing a laptop computer and other electronics from a dormroom.


ANALYSIS

STRENGTHS
Outstanding size. Good press strength. Good athletic ability. Can keep stride with receivers down the field and ride the hip pocket in man coverage. Aggressive tackler (though often shoots low) -- led the team in tackles as a senior and is unafraid to mix it up. Takes on blocks with physicality and attacks the run. Adequate production on the ball. Has gunner experience.

WEAKNESSES
Is tight-hipped and lacks ideal foot speed, which creates separation in man coverage. Average instincts -- can be late to diagnose run-pass reads and locate the ball, is a tick slow to sort out routes and too easily lured by nods and fakes. Often plays into the boundary. Benefits from facing average competition. Character will require closer examination following dismissal from Illinois after a misdemeanor theft conviction.

DRAFT PROJECTION
Rounds 6-7

BOTTOM LINE
Exceptional-sized, Illinois transfer with enough physicality to function as a short-area, press corner and contribute on special teams.

-Nolan Nawrocki

 

 

"EXPERT" OPINION

ESPN’s Mel Kiper:
"---"
NFL Network’s Mike Mayock
"---”
NFL Network’s Charles Davis:
"---."

Draftinsider.net’s Tony Pauline
Positives:
" ---."

Negatives:
"---."

Final word:
"---."

 

 

 

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