Road to the draft: Walt Aikens
Measurements: 6-foot-1, 205 pounds
Career stats: 194 tackles, seven interceptions, 22 passes defensed, three forced fumbles, three sacks.
Draft projection: Fourth-fifth round.
Lowdown: Aikens turned heads at the Senior Bowl in January, showing that he belonged with his counterparts from bigger schools. Despite the impressive showing, he did not receive and invitation to the NFL Scouting Combine in February. At Liberty’s Pro Day last month, he ran a reported 4.46-second 40-yard dash, although it came on the school’s track, a faster surface than FieldTurf. Aikens also reportedly did 13 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press and had a 35-inch vertical leap. … A first-team All-Big South selection in 2013 after making a team-high 62 tackles and three inteceptions. … Has the size and strength teams crave in cornerbacks, and offers the ability to play gunner on special teams. … Played his freshman year as a safety for Illinois, but was kicked off the team before the 2010 season after pleading guilty to misdemeanor theft charges, reportedly for stealing a computer from a dorm room. Served two weeks in jail.
He said it: “I had to make sure everybody at the Senior Bowl knew who I was. I went out there with the mindset that I’ve got to eat. I’m hungry. I’ve got to perform. Right now, it’s all about marketing yourself.”
The Buffalo News is profiling 50 prospects in 50 days leading up to the NFL Draft, which begins May 8.