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Sam Aiken

SELECTED BY SAN FRANCISCO , ROUND 4, PICK 31, OVERALL PICK 127
WR | (6-1, 209, 4.62) | North Carolina
By Pro Football Weekly

Notes: Nickname is "Sleeper" because of tattoo across his belly reading "Sleeper" that he got in high school as motivation when he was classified as such during his senior year. High school football and basketball star who finished second in the state high jump. Caught three passes for 16 yards as a freshman, when he also returned 13 kickoffs for 276 yards and 12 punts for 23 yards. Caught 29-410-3 and returned 18 kickoffs for 365 yards and two punts for 20 yards in 2000. Hauled in a team-best 46-789-8 in '01, while also returning five kickoffs for 105 yards and nine punts for 79 yards. Set school records in receptions and receiving yards as a senior with 68 receptions and 990 yards; he also had four TD catches and three 100-yard games. Led the Atlantic Coast Conference in receiving yards per game (82.5) and catches per game (5.67). Had a strong showing at the Senior Bowl, when he was named the game's offensive MVP with nine catches for 69 yards.

Positives: A big, physical and strong receiver who does the little things. Has 39½-inch vertical. Has good ball skills and hands. Likes to go over the middle and can make the tough catch in traffic with his huge hands. Wants the ball in clutch situations. Continuously beats the jam, avoids press and uses his strength well. Was on kick-coverage and punt-coverage teams and can also return. Has some niftiness and is flexible. Reliable and consistent. Has enough size to be a possession receiver.

Negatives: Isn't quick or sudden off the line of scrimmage and doesn't have top or pure speed. Doesn't get deep and can have trouble gaining separation against top corners. Is not a playmaker after the catch and will get caught from behind.

Summary: Solid, possession-type receiver who could catch and block, but his lack of vertical speed really hurts his upside potential.

* Player biographies are provided by Pro Football Weekly.