We’re now just eleven short days away from the return of New Orleans Saints football, Who Dats! With the recent announcement of the team’s roster cuts to trim their roster down 75 players, it’s getting more ‘real’ by the day. We continue our two-week series that focuses on my Top 15 players heading into the 2014 Saints’ season, which will ultimately help take you into the regular season opener showdown against the Atlanta Falcons. Today’s selection: Akiem Hicks
Birthday: 11/16/1989 (24 years old)
Weight: 324 pounds
NFL Experience: 3rd Season
Position: Defensive End
2013 Highlights & Notes
- Started and played in all 16 games
- 56 total tackles (29 solo, 27 assisted), 4.5 sacks
- Ranked third on defense in sacks, most tackles among defensive linemen
- Played in 66.3% of team’s defensive snaps (646 of 975 snaps)
Akiem Hicks has increased his production season over season. After converting from a defensive tackle in 2012, Hicks was able to sack Matt Ryan, Colin Kaepernick, Cam Newton, and Nick Foles in the 2013 season. Teams had their hands full with Akiem Hicks, and is only going to continue being a nightmare under Rob Ryan.
Akiem Hicks has been labeled as a ‘breakout candidate’ by many. Hicks could not only finish again in the Saints’ Top 3 again in the sack department, but could also finish with 10+ sacks on the season. Hicks has become one of the more dominant forces in the league with his size and stature, and is truly an underrated player. With teams having to account more for defensive end Cam Jordan and linebacker Junior Galette, Hicks should have more than a little success in 2014.