The Miami Dolphins bolstered their secondary by selecting Liberty cornerback Walt Aikens in the fourth round (No. 125 overall) of the NFL Draft on Saturday.
During the Senior Bowl practices, Aikens was one of the prospects that captured the attention of the Dolphins.
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“They like big, physical corners, and I’m there for that,” Aikens said.
Aikens, who said he can also play in the nickel, or slot position, said he visited the Dolphins and “fell in love” with the coaches.
As a big (6 feet, 203 pounds), mobile cornerback who's also played free safety, Aikens was drawing middle-round grades and was regarded as a rising player.
The Dolphins signed Lions safety Louis Delmas as a free agent, with the vision of him becoming the team's starting free safety.
“I want to be a starter,” Aikens said.
Aikens had made 10 visits, including the Dolphins, Indianapolis Colts, Green Bay Packers, Cincinnati Bengals, Jacksonville Jaguars, Kansas City Chiefs, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Buffalo Bills. He also had six private workouts, including the Dallas Cowboys, Atlanta Falcons and Jaguars.
The All-Big South Conference selection had 62 tackles, three interceptions and seven pass deflections last season. For his career, he had seven interceptions and six forced fumbles.
He has 4.49 speed, a 35-inch vertical leap, a 9-10 broad jump, bench pressed 225 pounds 13 times and did a 7.12-second three-cone drill.
His 4.49 40-yard dash time means he has decent speed, but not great speed. He's regarded as a good cover corner who will play press coverage, and he's also regarded as a willing tackler.
Aikens began his career at Illinois but was dismissed from the program after being arrested for felony possession of stolen property in July 2010. He pled guilty to a misdemeanor theft charge of stealing a laptop computer and other electronic items from a dormitory room.
"I bought a laptop from a teammate and it turned out to be stolen," said Aikens. "I was charged with possession of stolen property, which was a misdemeanor, and the school was really trying to set an example out of some football players at the time and they thought it was best that I left. Coach Ron Zook was my head coach at the time. He fought for me to stay but the school wouldn’t let me stay. He gave me the right of way to transfer to some other schools."
Aikens had no known off-field problems after transferring to Liberty.