I normally like to talk about players that some people have not heard of. Perhaps it was the way BB drafted the last few years that sometimes had us scratching our heads. Perhaps I like to give the no name guys that caught my eye some recognition. When looking at lower round DT/DE's, Akiem Hicks caught my lovely eye.
Akiem is 6'5", 325 lbs (according to nfldraftscout.com), and is projected in the 4th-6th round. He has a long wingspan of 84", and his 40 time (as if its really relevant on DTs right? lol) clocks in around 5 seconds, and again, according to nfldraftscout.com, his lowest 40 time was 4.89. For a guy his size, that's pretty impressive. You can view more here.
Akiem was touted as a prospect who is raw, but has Tons of potential. In his 2011 season, he recorded:
29 solo/42 total tackles
8 Tackles for loss for 56 yards
6.5 sacks for 54 yards
He recorded 2 FF, and broke up 3 passes
You can view this, and his background here.
It says on reginacougars.com that he was drafted by the UFL team Omaha Nighthawks with the 48th overall pick. But this was in 2010, and as far as I know, he hasn't signed yet. The Nighthawks also drafted Mark Herzlich in 2010, so perhaps Hicks is going to follow Herzlich to the NFL.
Here is some video on Hicks:
A few things you will notice is that he plays EVERYWHERE on the DL. It seems the Regina Rams play both a 3-4, and 4-3 as well, and Hicks is playing at both tackle positions, and both end positions. Looks very versatile.
You'll also notice how he is making everyone look like highschoolers. He doesn't look 325 in the video imo either. lol
So my quick thoughts are that he has a very good push, and has a great motor. he doesn't look like he ever gives up, and he sheds blocks pretty dang well for a guy his size. His closing speed surprises me too. For a guy his size, he has pretty damn good burst. He looks like he uses his hands well, and has pretty good vision.
The one downside I can come up with, is that he hasn't played against top competition. He was with LSU for a while, but he went to Omaha in 2010, leaving no standout performances (I don't think he even played that much) at LSU.
Bottom line, he is a 4th-6th rounder. he has tremendous size and upside that is worth looking into. I wouldn't mind drafting him in the 5th, but I can see him slipping into the 6th round because of how raw and truly untested he is. He was invited to the East-West shrine game, and he was a popular topic amongst NFL Observers.
To quote Greg Gabriel of the National Football post:
“At this stage of his development he may not be a draft choice but at least he is a priority free agent,” wrote Greg Gabriel of the National Football Post. “You have to look at this player as a big block of clay that is still waiting to be moulded into a work of art. If done right, in the end you MAY have a masterpiece!”