Our series continues with one of my favorite players in this year’s class; Texas LB Jordan Hicks is a football player with great explosiveness, passion for the game and smooth footwork. The linebacker hopeful was a highly sought-after recruit coming out of high school, but nagging injuries kept him under the radar. This prospect might not be the immediate solution to the New Orleans Saints‘ problems but the Colorado native is well worth a closer look.
NFL Scouting Combine measurements:
Weight: 236 pounds
40-yard dash: 4.68 seconds
10-yard split: 1.53 seconds
Vertical jump: 38 inches
3-cone drill: 6.78 seconds
20-yard shuttle: 4.15 seconds
60-yard shuttle: 11.34 seconds
Analysis: Hicks’ size, weight and 40-yard dash were neither outstanding nor underwhelming, but his explosiveness jumps off the page. He was the linebacker with the best first-step endurance — his agility numbers ranked near the top half as well. The former Longhorn displayed once more why teams believe in his huge upside, despite doubting his durability and instincts.
Jordan Hicks will not produce tons of flashy plays as he is an effective worker who thoroughly takes on his assignments without putting up noteworthy highlight reels. This one, however, is to show you the versatility and effort the former Longhorn brings to the table.
Production in 2014 campaign (from TexasSports.com):
"Started at weakside linebacker in all 13 games … a second-team All-America selection by two outlets … a second team All-Big 12 selection by AP and the coaches … a first-team Academic All-Big 12 choice … led the team with a career-high 147 tackles, which ranks tied for seventh on the UT all-time single-season list … tied for second on the team in tackles for loss (13) and fourth in interceptions (2) … named a semifinalist for the Chuck Bednarik Award (top defensive player in the nation) … has eight double-digit tackle games… … had 14 tackles, including two tackles for loss and a half sack, against BYU … recorded a career-high 18 tackles, including two for a loss, one pass breakup and a QB pressure vs. UCLA … recorded 15 tackles (one for a loss), an interception and a quarterback pressure against Kansas … tied a career high with 18 stops, including two for a loss and one sack, and one pass breakup against Iowa State"
Synopsis: As I pointed out earlier, Jordan Hicks is a solid worker who can provide an immediate upgrade in coverage for NFL teams, as well as on any special teams unit. I doubt he will be a standout given his mediocre ceiling, but he could find himself in a starting line-up as a 4-3 weak-side linebacker or in the middle of a 3-4 defense. His biggest plus will be his three-down ability and work ethic. The passionate defender could come off the board as early as the third round and should not fall any further than the fourth. The Saints could certainly afford to spend a third-round pick on this prospect as he could contribute on passing downs and special teams, potentially in the base defense after some more coaching and strength training.
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