Kamar Aiken: Ascending player or flash in the pan?


Dec 7, 2014; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Kamar Aiken (11) catches a touchdown pass against the Miami Dolphins in the second half of a game at Sun Life Stadium. The Ravens defeated the Dolphins 28-13. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports

Kamar Aiken has made himself quite the story after a career day against the Miami Dolphins, catching six balls for 65 yards and a touchdown. Pretty good numbers for a guy who was a primarily a special teamer for most of the season. That game didn’t necessarily come out of nowhere, though, as Aiken caught three balls for 51 yards the week before. The question on most people’s minds is whether or not that production  is here to stay.

With Torrey Smith‘s injury in the Chargers game, a big chunk of targets opened up, and Aiken has been the guy to fill the void. Needless to say, when Smith returns, Aiken’s looks will decrease again.

For now, though, Smith remains on the injury report and Aiken’s prospects look good.

So far, Aiken has shown a knack for getting open and consistent hands, the two most important traits for any receiver.

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Aiken shows runs his routes with good technical prowess, taking sharp angles and cutting with surprising suddenness. His overall lack of speed and explosion hurts him a bit, as he looks a little lumbering while running. He won’t outrun anybody, but for a 6’2″, 215 pound receiver, Aiken’s athleticism is good enough considering his quality routes. Whether or not he will be able to get open against top competition is probably Aiken’s biggest obstacle to becoming a consistent threat.

Where Aiken excels most is in his hands. He has caught 22-of-29 targets this season. That’s a 76 percent catch rate. Aiken can consistently catch contested balls, regularly shaking off contact to make tough grabs. He also displays good body control, as his 13-yard touchdown Sunday indicates. On that play, Aiken was running free in the back of the endzone, but Flacco’s throw was a bit behind him. Not missing a beat, Aiken contorted his body to make the tough grab.

On the short routes, Aiken is every bit as good as Torrey Smith, but he lacks the speed to consistently threaten a defense over the top. Despite his recent success, Aiken remains a downgrade.

That said, Aiken has certainly proven himself to be at minimum a quality depth guy who can excel as a third or fourth receiver. Just 25 years old, Aiken has a bright future ahead of him. Based on the skills he has shown thus far, Aiken is definitely more than a flash in the pan.

For the time being, Aiken will be a decent spot starter. He may just be worth a pickup in fantasy, especially considering the Ravens are playing the Jaguars this week.