Two Mid Round CB Prospects.................

Discussion in 'Chicago Bears' started by soulman, Apr 5, 2014.

  1. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

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    NFL prospect focus: Phillip Gaines & Walt Aikens
    Two intriguing cornerback prospects who are climbing some boards. Greg Gabriel
    April 03, 2014
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    Phillip Gaines – Cornerback – Rice
    Size – 6003 – 193 – 4.38

    Strong Points:
    3.5-year starter, height, long arms, speed and overall athleticism, press coverage, zone coverage, ball reactions, hands, very good combine workout.

    Weak Points: Was suspended for season-opener vs Texas A&M, strength, tackling, shed blocks, run support.
    2014 Stats: 36 total tackles, four interceptions, 10 passes broken up

    Summation
    Gaines is a fifth-year senior and a 3.5-year starter. In 2011 he started the first three games, but sustained an injury and missed the rest of the season. Was awarded a medical redshirt season.

    Gaines has excellent height at 6003 with long arms. He is very fast and athletic, with quick feet and suddenness. He has a low pedal and can turn, but takes an extra step in transition. This will have to be corrected at the next level.
    Gaines lines up on the left side. He plays a lot of press coverage and some zone. You seldom see him in off coverage. In press, he has a good jam and turn and shows better than average mirror skills. He can get beat off of his opponents’ cuts, but he has the recovery and burst to get back into the play. Gaines plays the ball well in the air and records a number of broken-up passes. His open-field tackling is adequate.

    In zone, Gaines shows awareness and is alert enough to help out when free. In addition, he displays excellent range. My only question in regards to Gaines’ zone coverage ability is his transition because he takes an extra step and this costs him some time.

    Gaines is not an aggressive run support player. He plays back and waits for the play to come to him. He lacks upper body strength and struggles to get off blocks. He is not an aggressive tackler and you seldom see him try to make a big hit.

    Overall, Gaines has a lot of talent. I feel his run support will improve with added upper body strength and confidence. However, until that happens, you can’t count on him to be a good cover guy on special teams.
    With his speed, press cover skills and combine workout, Gaines is getting a lot of attention. Those things may get him drafted high. I see him as a top “B” level player (third round) because of his strength and run support deficiencies. However, it wouldn’t surprise me if he gets drafted during the latter part of the second round.

    Grade: B 6.6
    Walt Aikens – Cornerback – Liberty University
    Size – 6005 – 205 – 4.47

    Strong Points:
    Excellent size, good athlete, speed, dominates level of competition, off-man coverage, zone coverage, tackling, played well in All Star games.

    Weak Points: Level of competition, did not see a lot of press man coverage, raw, why did he leave Illinois?

    2014 Stats: 62 total tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, three interceptions for 44 yards, 1.0 sacks

    Summation
    Aikens is a fifth-year senior and a 3.5-year starter. He originally enrolled at Illinois in 2009 and started five games at safety. Transferred to Liberty and did not see game action in 2010. Has been a starter at the boundary corner for Liberty the last three seasons.

    He has excellent corner size at 6005 – 205 to go along with good speed. His overall athleticism is good. Aikens can stay low in his pedal, has a smooth turn and can transition very quickly. He has the suddenness required to play corner in the NFL.

    Aikens plays the boundary corner for Liberty. While you don’t see him in much press coverage, he plays a lot of zone and man off. He has good anticipation and awareness in off-coverage. Aikens doesn’t let the receiver close too much of the cushion and shows that he can mirror out of that type of coverage. He is an alert zone player who consistently keeps good positioning. He has very good ball reactions and no wasted motion when he breaks on the ball. His hands are good and he shows good running instincts after the interception.

    With his size, Aikens plays the run well. He shows he can shed blocks and is a consistent tackler. He also has been used some to return kicks, but I haven’t seen enough to say he has NFL return talent.

    Overall, Aikens is an interesting talent. He demonstrated at the Senior Bowl that he can play against better competition and he has ideal size. While he is still raw, he has a lot of upside. I can see him being a starter by his second year. Right now, I view Aikens as high “B” level player, but I can see a club with a need drafting him in the second round. Has too much upside. Why he left Illinois needs to be answered.

    Grade: B 6.6
    Follow Greg on Twitter: @greggabe
  2. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

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    Assuming we don't draft a CB in one or two then here's a couple of guys who may come into play in round three. Of the two I think Aikens may be the better all around guy to develop behind Tillman.

    He's small college kid but dominated at that level and showed well at the Sr. Bowl. IMHO he's also the better zone and run defender of the two. He needs time to convert to the pro game but to me this is the type of kid you draft to play a year or two from now and let him get his feet wet on STeams.

    Gaines has blinding speed but is less a fit for the type of CB the Bears usually like. He's not a strong run player and more of a press and man coverage kid who may not adapt well to the type of zone coverage the Bears typically use. Not rated as much of a STeams guy either and backups need to play STeams while they wait their turn to start.

    Anyway I'm not in favor of drafting a backup CB before we fill needs at DT and FS so that tells me we should be looking for DBs like Aikens and Ward or Bucannon in rounds two and three. If we end up taking Dix or Pryor in one then a DT takes the place of a FS after round one. I'm not at all down with Gabriel's mock which has us taking Fuller at #14. I don't believe he rates that high to begin with and he won't be a 1st day starter. I want a starter with that pick.
  3. BSBEARS

    BSBEARS Pro-Bowler

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    yep, I posted Aikens a while back. He is ranked all over on big boards, low 100s to mid 100's Should be there in rd 3 and might be on the board in rd 4, doubtful he will still be there in rd 5. He got in trouble for a burglary I believe as a fresh at U of I and was kicked off the team. Do not know the details of the crime but he was kicked off the team by former coach Ron Zook

    Looks like he has stayed out of trouble since his freshman year and I believe he would be a good option to back up CB's and potentially replace Peanut in time. His previous issue with the law may keep him on the board longer than his skill set would dictate.
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  4. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

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    I think had the kid played for a Big Ten school instead of Liberty he might well be ranked a little higher. He's got the size and a skill set like we look for and he could be a huge bargain anywhere for the bottom of two to the bottom of four. Just depends on how other see him after the top three or four are gone. This is a kid who could earn him keep on coverage teams until his number came up. He's be a better choice than keeping Bowman around for that.

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