Two-Deep Analysis: DB Johnathan Aiken

With spring camp over, ScarletReport.com is ready to look ahead to training camp with an in-depth, daily look at the depth chart. Going player by player, we break down the key players of training camp with an in-depth look today at defensive back Johnathan Aiken.

Johnathan Aiken has had a small role the last two years on the Rutgers defense, and even saw some emergency time at linebacker as a true freshman. Aiken moved from cornerback to safety early in his career but saw time in multiple roles during the spring going into his junior season.

Spring Performance -- Aiken saw consistent second-team action in spring camp. With injury issues at both safety spots, Aiken's versatility in camp stood out with plenty of action on his plate. He made one tackle in the spring game, starting alongside Jeremy Deering.

Expected 2013 Role -- Aiken can play in the nickel and at safety and will likely fill multiple roles on the second team defense. Aiken was a major special teams contributor in high school and can bring a lot to the table on fourth down and kickoff coverage.

Scouting Report -- Aiken struggled early in his career with speed and quickness at corner and found a stronger fit at safety after a position change. Aiken embodies the Rutgers focus on swarm and turnovers defensively, making safety a better fit. Aiken can be used off the edge as a blitz option. He tackles solidly and is a good ball disrupter, making him a strong fit on special teams coverage and block teams.

Aiken needs to improve his hips and flexibility when used in nickel packages or coverage in the slot. He is slightly under-sized at safety, but bulked up 10 pounds from when he arrived. Moving other players out of defensive back makes Aiken's role more important in camp.

The Bottom Line -- Safety depth remains a concern in 2013 and Aiken provides versatility, depth and two years of college experience.


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