Shows decent speed and can make the stop in pursuit. Shows some burst upfield when he comes off the edge as a blitzer. Gives good effort on the field. Shows some ability to drop into zone coverage and make a play there. Can set the edge vs. the run and wrap up the ballcarrier at the point of attack.
Lacks instincts and awareness vs. the run. Gets caught out of position at the point of attack and gets caught in traffic. An undersized tackler and not a guy that can reliably make the stop in the open field. Doesn't show great speed and burst to make plays in space. Doesn't consistently get good depth on his zone drops, and too often gets caught looking in the backfield leading to missed assignments in coverage. Doesn't have the burst off the edge to beat the blocker as a pass rusher, and lacks any real moves to disengage.
Hicks played outside and inside linebacker for Florida, but was never a full-time starter during his three years. He combined for 104 tackles, 10.5 for loss, and 9 sacks in three years in which he was a regular in their linebacker rotation. He is a guy that is going to have to be a special teams guy and reserve SAM linebacker at the next level.
Hicks lacks instincts and speed to really make plays. He's limited in coverage, doesn't really defend the run well, and just really isn't an impact player. He's adequate starting college linebacker, but as far as playing at the next level, his future is tied mainly to his special teams ability. If he can contribute there, he can make a roster. And with a few years under his belt, he might become a decent stopgap starter, but he won't be good. He's the type of guy that might become a Paris Lenon or Ike Reese type, but the minute you ask him to be a starter, that's the moment you realize how limited he is and he winds up losing his roster spot. If he can get a bit bigger and stronger, he might make an OK backup SAM linebacker in a 4-3 scheme.
Hicks isn't really going to do much in Atlanta. He's not a better prospect than someone like Spencer Adkins, and thus his only real chance of sticking early in Atlanta is proving himself as a stud on special teams. He can potentially do that, but what you really have is a player that like Robert James will be on the practice squad and do just enough to hang on, but is not really ever going to make a significant impact on regular defense. The minute the Falcons devote a serious draft pick to their depth at linebacker, he'll be pushed off the roster.
He's not worth drafting, but is worth a look in camp as an undrafted free agent.
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite
Point of Attack: 2.0
Pass Rush: 2.5
Scouting reports of the linebackers in the 2011 Draft.
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