Phillip Gaines and Walt Aikens were the top two small-school sleeper cornerback prospects coming into the 2014 NFL Draft, and Aikens has been selected today after the Kansas City Chiefs picked up Gaines, who starred at Rice, yesterday. With the 25th pick in the fourth round of the 2014 NFL Draft, the Miami Dolphins took Aikens off the board, and it will be interesting to see if he can impress enough in training camp to win a starting gig. The difference in competition is greater for small-school prospects than most, but the tools are there for Aikens to make an impact.
It seems like the Dolphins need for another cornerback was downplayed a bit in the pre-draft process, because the fact of the matter is that the Dolphins depth at CB wasn’t good going into the draft. Brent Grimes is a top-notch No. 1 corner by every relevant measure, but the Dolphins lost a solid No. 2 guy (even if he was injured frequently last season and it was his first legitimately good year in the league) in Dimitri Patterson this offseason. Jamar Taylor did nothing last season after struggling to get a handle on things, and he even contemplated retiring at one point. Taylor was a top prospect last year who rose during the pre-draft process, so the Boise State product should do better next year and seems to have the inside track at starting.
Despite the optimism surrounding Taylor’s skills and ability to improve this offseason, the Dolphins still definitely needed someone else at corner. Taking Aikens in the fourth round is good value for first-year GM Dennis Hickey, who added a quality player at the position without paying a premium price. The former Liberty standout is one to watch closely in minicamp.