The Philadelphia Eagles drafted Texas linebacker with their third round selection (No. 84 overall) in the 2015 NFL Draft. Bleeding Green Nation's Ben Natan profiled Hicks recently, but I thought it would also be useful to acquire an insider's insight. In order to learn more about the Eagles' new linebacker, I reached out to Texas Longhorns SB Nation blog Burnt Orange Nation. Wescott Eberts was kind enough to answer my questions.
Jordan Hicks is a good player, but ...
The Eagles surprised a lot of people with the selection of Jordan Hicks in the third round.
1) What are his strengths?
Hicks was one of the most agile linebackers at the NFL Scouting Combine, which makes him effective in coverage. In fact, he was one of the top coverage linebackers in the draft after intercepting two big passes and making two notable third-down stops in the red zone against West Virginia last fall. His coverage range extends to his work against the run, as he has the range to go sideline to sideline. As a senior, Hicks was also a steady and sure tackler.
2) What are his weaknesses?
There are significant injury concerns with Hicks because he suffered season-ending injuries in 2012 and 2013, along with a broken foot in spring practice in 2011. Though he's known as an intelligent player, there are some scouts who believe that he's a bit robotic on the field. He can also give up some yards after contact because he's not a sink-and-explode tackler who can deliver big hits and he also struggles to beat blocks at the second level.
3) Were you surprised to see him drafted in the third round?
The third round seemed a little bit on the high end for Hicks because of his injuries, lack of ideal height, and issues making plays after offensive linemen get their hands on him. However, his pure athleticism makes him worthy of a second-day selection when viewed without the context that raises those red flags.
4) There’s been a lot of talk about how Hicks is like a coach on the field. To what extent is he a good leader?
Hicks was unquestionably the on-field leader of the 2014 defense for Texas, as he was responsible for making calls and ensuring that the Horns defender were correctly aligned before every snap. Other than the incident before the 2012 Alamo Bowl that never resulted in charges, he was a model citizen and worked extremely hard to rehab from his Achilles injury. So he's the type of guy who can definitely lead by example.
5) How do you see his NFL career playing out?
In a best-case scenario, I think Hicks can become a versatile and effective starter, but it's hard to make a definite prediction about his future because he has suffered so many significant injuries. Perhaps that's a bit evasive, but that uncertainty is a central part of what made Hicks a risky pick that some people panned.
Thanks again to Wescott. Make sure to check out Burnt Orange Nation.