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Carlton Aiken Jr. Scouting Report | Pace University QB | 2023 NFL Draft

Carlton Aiken Jr. Scouting Report | Pace University QB | 2023 NFL Draft
Carlton Aiken Jr. Scouting Report | Pace University QB | 2023 NFL Draft

Player Bio

Carlton Aiken Jr. is a 6-foot-1, 220-pound Quarterback prospect from Pace University – a Division II program in New York City, NY.

Aiken Jr. prepped at Paulsboro High School in Paulsboro, NJ from 2014-2016, where he was a two-time First Team All-State performer and all-time school record holder in single-season passing yards and passing touchdowns.

As a junior in 2014, AIken Jr. completed 58 percent of his passes for 1940 yards, 18 touchdowns, and seven interceptions, while adding 475 rushing yards and one rushing touchdown on 101 carries. Aiken Jr. led Paulsboro to a 10-2 record, a Colonial-Patriot League Championship, and NJSIAA South Division State Championship in his first season as the starting quarterback for the Red Raiders.

Before Aiken Jr.’s senior year, he received three Division I scholarships from Cornell University, Central Connecticut State University, and the University of New Hampshire, respectively. 

As a senior in 2015, Aiken Jr. collected 2016 total yards (1468 passing, 548 rushing), 23 total touchdowns (14 passing, nine rushing), four interceptions, and one fumble. After leading Paulsboro to an 8-3 record and an appearance in the NJSIAA South Division Semifinals, he signed his letter of intent with Central Connecticut State to play under former Blue Devils Head Coach Peter Rossomando – the current Head Coach at Lamar University.

Aiken Jr. used his first season at Central Connecticut State in 2016 as a redshirt year to maintain an extra year of eligibility.

Before Aiken Jr. could compete for the starting quarterback job at CCSU, he announced his intention to transfer to Lackawanna College – a junior college in Scranton, PA.

Aiken Jr. spent one season at Lackawanna, where he saw action in six games and completed 3/5 passes for 67 yards and one touchdown; He also added 12 carries and 43 rushing yards on the season. After the season, Aiken Jr. decided to stay in New York and continue his football career at Pace University.

In his first season at Pace, Aiken Jr. appeared in four games, including three starts against American International College, Assumption College, and Stonehill College. Leading Pace to two victories in a three-game span, Aiken Jr. completed 34/57 passes (59.6 CMP %) for 461 passing yards, five touchdowns, and three interceptions while adding 42 carries, 231 rushing touchdowns, and three rushing touchdowns on the ground.

Aiken Jr. returned to Pace for his redshirt junior season and started all ten games for the Setters in 2019. In a 6-4 campaign, Aiken Jr. completed 142/247 passes (54.4 CMP %) for 1833 passing yards, 19 touchdowns, and three interceptions; He also added 132 carries, 687 rushing yards, and nine rushing touchdowns. After the season, Aiken Jr. was named NE10 Offensive Player of the Year for the first time in his career.

The following season, Pace University canceled its football season due to the Coronavirus Pandemic in 2020. In hopes of playing during the 2021 spring season, Aiken Jr. transferred to Gardner-Webb University, joining the FCS ranks for the first time since leaving Central Connecticut State in 2016.

In a four-game season at Gardner-Webb, Aiken Jr. started all four games and led the Bulldogs to a 2-2, which included a 42-20 upset victory against 24th-ranked Elon. In total, Aiken completed 75/123 passes (60.9 CMP %), 709 passing yards, three touchdowns, and seven interceptions, while contributing 45 carries, 103 rushing yards, and three rushing touchdowns.

Aiken Jr. transferred back to Pace University as a graduate student in 2021, providing him with two minimum years of collegiate eligibility.

Aiken Jr. reclaimed the starting quarterback job for the first three games of the 2021 season but suffered an injury that held him out of five games. In five starts on the year, Aiken Jr. completed 75/152 (49 CMP %), 1018 passing yards, ten passing touchdowns, and five interceptions, while adding 70 carries, 209 rushing yards, and two rushing touchdowns.

In 2022, Aiken Jr. led Pace to a 6-4 record in the seventh and final season of his college career. Starting all ten games for the Setters, Aiken Jr. completed 137/252 passes (54.4 CMP %), 1799 passing yards, 17 touchdowns, and six interceptions; He also added 120 carries, 694 rushing yards, and six rushing touchdowns. Aiken Jr. received NE10 Most Valuable Player honors, becoming the first Pace player to win the award.

Overall, Aiken Jr. totaled 466/886 passes (55.7 CMP %), 5887 passing yards, 55 passing touchdowns, 24 interceptions, 421 carries, 1964 rushing yards, and 23 rushing touchdowns across four different colleges in seven years.

During the offseason leading up to the 2023 NFL Draft, Aiken Jr. was invited to play at the 2023 Tropical Bowl and participated in FBS pro days at Temple and Army.

Scouting Report

Carlton Aiken Jr. is an athletic, dual-threat quarterback with intriguing pocket mobility and scramble ability, high-level ball accuracy/placement to all three levels, and solid overall arm strength, velocity, and anticipation.

At 6-foot-1, 220 pounds, Aiken Jr. has above-average height and weight measurements for the quarterback position. He has the size, frame, and toughness necessary to stand tall and deliver a quality ball in the face of pressure. With decent size and a well-developed frame, Aiken Jr. has a strong athletic profile and can operate inside and outside the pocket.

Aiken Jr. possesses great foot quickness and twitch, enabling him to manipulate the pocket and buy time for his receivers to get open downfield. His quickness and elusiveness also serve him well in the open field, as he has a dynamic make-you-miss ability once he escapes the pocket. With legit 4.5 speed and physical running style, Aiken Jr. can create explosive plays with his legs when given the opportunity.

Outside of his positive athletic qualities, Aiken Jr.’s ball accuracy and placement are two of the most impressive aspects of his game. Whether he is standing in the pocket or delivering the ball on the run, Aiken Jr. can place the ball into tight windows and give his receivers the best chances to make plays on the ball. He boasts a clean throwing motion with a quick, snappy release, strong velocity, and the ability to deliver the ball from a variety of arm slots. Aiken Jr. has a ton of confidence in his accuracy and placement, which helps him to attack tight-throwing windows efficiently and effectively at all three levels.

Aiken Jr. can fit the ball into tight windows so consistently because he delivers the ball with such terrific anticipation. His anticipation is a byproduct of his timing/rhythm, football intelligence, and ability to move defenders with his eyes to open up throwing windows. During his senior year at Pace, Aiken Jr. proved that he excels in a system that prioritizes RPOs and expects its quarterbacks to make smart decisions on post-snap reads. Despite having relatively high football intelligence and QB instincts, Aiken Jr. could protect the ball better to avoid making costly turnovers in pivotal situations.

Aiken Jr. will not blow you away from an arm strength perspective but has the ball accuracy and placement to put his receivers in advantageous situations to win contested catches on deep throws.

Aiken Jr. has a versatile skillet, high athletic upside, and production & playing experience at various levels of college football. He does not have any size, speed, technique, or arm talent deficiencies and has tested very well at multiple pro days during the pre-draft process.

Although he might not hear his name called during the 2023 NFL Draft, Aiken Jr. has a realistic chance of becoming the first-ever Pace University alum to play in the NFL. Expect Aiken Jr. to go undrafted and receive an opportunity to showcase his talents at rookie minicamp. If Aiken Jr. performs well during rookie minicamp, he has a legit opportunity to make an NFL practice squad after training camp.

Draft Projection

Undrafted Free Agent

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