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2014 Secret Superstar A. Hicks


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Secret Superstars 2014: Saints

2014-SS-hicks.png

In 2012, the New Orleans Saints’ first draft pick came in the third round. This was due to a 2011 trade with New England to move back into the first round for Alabama RB Mark Ingram, and penalties resulting from the Bounty Gate scandal.

With that third round 89th overall selection, the Saints took a chance on DT Akiem Hicks, who had an interesting pre-NFL story. He began his college career at Sacramento City College, became a highly rated junior college player, signed with LSU, but became ineligible due to recruiting violations.

He would go on to work at a DirecTV call center in Colorado before turning down a chance to play in the Canadian Football League, but agreeing to play for the University of Regina, located in Canada. Two years later, a great performance at the East-West Shrine Game helped his stock even more.

Rookie Year

Hicks spent his rookie year on a defense led by first-year Saints defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. This unit turned out to be historically porous, allowing the most yards in a single NFL season. Playing mostly interior tackle on a four-man defensive line, Hicks can hardly be blamed for that infamous ineptitude; he earned a +1.4 and +1.3 in Run Defense and Pass Rush while playing only 38.1% of the team’s defensive snaps.

He also forced a fumble in the Denver blowout game while it was still a competitive contest, and the only missed tackle he had was also in that game, after he had humorously tossed Broncos’ center Dan Koppen aside. There were some nicks and bruises along the way for Hicks (he injured his hand twice prior to the season, and missed the final game due to a knee injury), but he never became an injury concern.

First Half of 2013

In 2013 Payton returned, and Spagnuolo and his maligned 4-3 defense were gone in favor of Rob Ryan’s 3-4 scheme. On NO’s first defensive snap of the season, he beat Atlanta’s right tackle for a stop in run defense; he seemed to take to the new scheme immediately, picking up three other stops against RBs in the first two contests as well as generating a sack, a hit, and three hurries.

However, his production tapped off in the rest of the first half of the year. He could only muster a single hurry in the following seven games, recorded only one stop in Weeks 3 (vs. Cardinals) and 4 (vs. Miami) despite both games being New Orleans blowouts, and received four overall ‘red’ grades in this span, including the Dallas Sunday night football massacre.

Second Half of 2013

Hicks’ disruption returned in Week 11 vs. San Francisco, but it was his next game against the Falcons when he really stood out. He harassed Matt Ryan to the tune of two sacks, a hit and a hurry, all requiring him to beat offensive lineman, and added five stops in run defense, leading to him earning a spot in the Week 12 Secret Superstar piece.

The rest of the way he wasn’t perfect, earning his worst overall grade (-2.1) in the loss to the Rams, but still helped this defense redeem itself for the horrific 2012 effort. He would earn his best overall grades (+3.2) in two crucial games – the Week 16 game in Carolina that could’ve led to a division title had they won, and the divisional loss in Seattle.

In the end, Hicks played 67.4% of the defensive snaps, a significant increase from his rookie season. The player seen by some as a project coming out of a Canadian college managed to earn the eighth best run defense grade as a 3-4 DE and the third-best Run Stop Percentagein that group with 39 Stops (including all games, not just the regular season). Cameron Jordan currently gets most of the spotlight on the Saints’ DL, but Hicks is primed to join him if his production last year is any indication.

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so he gets all the praise when playing against our shoddy O-line?? and he is a secret superstar?

come on SK if he was a monster to the rest of the teams I can give credit. But beating our shoddy o-line is nothing to be proud of.

my 7 year old nephew could sack matt ryan against last seasons o-line.

after re-reading it seems like he is mediocre against teams with a good O-line, and great against ours...

not saying much for his playing ability.

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Guest fibonacci

so he gets all the praise when playing against our shoddy O-line?? and he is a secret superstar?

come on SK if he was a monster to the rest of the teams I can give credit. But beating our shoddy o-line is nothing to be proud of.

my 7 year old nephew could sack matt ryan against last seasons o-line.

after re-reading it seems like he is mediocre against teams with a good O-line, and great against ours...

not saying much for his playing ability.

this is saints ways of showing they are homer. and then call others out when they say this stuff (some better then this. because the guy did better against other teams) and say that OP was a homer.

but if I call this a homer post and how I want cheese cake tonight, I'm just going to be a bad guy.

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after re-reading it seems like he is mediocre against teams with a good O-line, and great against ours...

not saying much for his playing ability.

Where does it say he was mediocre outside of the Atlanta games? He appears to be a young ascending player, hence "secret" superstar.

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Where does it say he was mediocre outside of the Atlanta games? He appears to be a young ascending player, hence "secret" superstar.

So if we were to post a secret superstar about one of our players who actually did well against other teams instead of just divisional foes who you still think he could be a "secret" superstar? or would you call us homers?

maybe not you, I don't see too much from you but some of the other saints fans that are homers would.

just like some falcons fans are incredible homers.

But there are other players on your team i would call a secret superstar, not hicks.

maybe he will shut me up this season but my thoughts on the guy are the same, average player played on a better defense.

edit:

I will say this

babs and peters were the only defensive tackles that I was proud of last season on our team.

Edited by VoidedSaint
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So if we were to post a secret superstar about one of our players who actually did well against other teams instead of just divisional foes who you still think he could be a "secret" superstar? or would you call us homers?

maybe not you, I don't see too much from you but some of the other saints fans that are homers would.

just like some falcons fans are incredible homers.

But there are other players on your team i would call a secret superstar, not hicks.

maybe he will shut me up this season but my thoughts on the guy are the same, average player played on a better defense.

edit:

I will say this

babs and peters were the only defensive tackles that I was proud of last season on our team.

Atlantas Secret Superstar was already posted on here.

Wouldnt you want your players to have success against your divisional opponents?

Seems like youre being a little over the top on this thread

SK...we need you to post as many homeristic articles as you can before you disappear wink.png

Ill try but Danight may beat me to it.

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atlanta has a secret superstar?

I must have been asleep on that one. The only one who would come close is worrilow...

but I see what you are saying you want your player to have great games against your divisional opponent.

but from what I read it seemed like he only had great games against atlanta.

IMHO your secret superstar is junior galette

but like i said, if hicks proves he is successful this season against a better O-line from the falcons then I will give him credit for being a "secret" superstar.

but it is a good read about the kid. Just nothing stands out about the kid that can make him much more productive than he already has been.

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atlanta has a secret superstar?

I must have been asleep on that one. The only one who would come close is worrilow...

but I see what you are saying you want your player to have great games against your divisional opponent.

but from what I read it seemed like he only had great games against atlanta.

IMHO your secret superstar is junior galette

but like i said, if hicks proves he is successful this season against a better O-line from the falcons then I will give him credit for being a "secret" superstar.

but it is a good read about the kid. Just nothing stands out about the kid that can make him much more productive than he already has been.

I hear ya buddy.

Hicks was really solid last year from I saw.

Towards the end of the season though, it just seemed like the light came on. He was in his 2nd season, 1st under RR, and coming from canada.

To me it just seems like the dude has an abundance of talent and its starting to show.

Also, you have to remember hes playing the DT/DE in a 3-4, his stats shouldnt look impressive.

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I just looked up ours....

lowery?

yeah... no.

but in all honesty I didn't watch any saints games unless they played the falcons. and yes he showed up against us. but the way the article states that was the only games he showed up really.

but realistically a secret superstar should be someone who makes plays but doesn't get the recognition that he should.

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I hear ya buddy.

Hicks was really solid last year from I saw.

Towards the end of the season though, it just seemed like the light came on. He was in his 2nd season, 1st under RR, and coming from canada.

To me it just seems like the dude has an abundance of talent and its starting to show.

Also, you have to remember hes playing the DT/DE in a 3-4, his stats shouldnt look impressive.

I am not much of a football guy as I didn't play when i was a kid, only baseball.

I learn from watching the games and listening to the guys in RC and learn from them.

I can name almost all positions, but when it comes to the lingo of football I am lost at times.

So with that said I still hold on to my opinions tongue.png

so realistically you're getting opinions from someone who watches what he sees and not what the player is doing... if that makes sense.

Edited by VoidedSaint
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He harassed Matt Ryan to the tune of two sacks, a hit and a hurry, all requiring him to beat offensive lineman, and added five stops in run defense, leading to him earning a spot in the Week 12 Secret Superstar piece

I'm impressed. I am always amazed at the ability of secret superstars to produce especially when the opposing team puts linemen in their way.

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atlanta has a secret superstar?

I must have been asleep on that one. The only one who would come close is worrilow...

but I see what you are saying you want your player to have great games against your divisional opponent.

but from what I read it seemed like he only had great games against atlanta.

IMHO your secret superstar is junior galette

but like i said, if hicks proves he is successful this season against a better O-line from the falcons then I will give him credit for being a "secret" superstar.

but it is a good read about the kid. Just nothing stands out about the kid that can make him much more productive than he already has been.

The Falcons "Secret Superstar" is Dwight Lowery.

https://www.profootballfocus.com/blog/2014/05/19/secret-superstars-2014-atlanta-falcons/

I don't think PFF would agree that Worrilow is the Falcon's Secret Superstar. They rated him as the worst starting middle linebacker in the NFCS, and 41st out of 55 rated overall. He also graded out poorly when he played outside linebacker, 25th out of 35, although Weatherspoon earned the distinction of being lowest graded in the NFCS.

With 12 sacks last season, Junior may not be as "secret" as they were going for.

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The Falcons "Secret Superstar" is Dwight Lowery.

https://www.profootb...tlanta-falcons/

I don't think PFF would agree that Worrilow is the Falcon's Secret Superstar. They rated him as the worst starting middle linebacker in the NFCS, and 41st out of 55 rated overall. He also graded out poorly when he played outside linebacker, 25th out of 35, although Weatherspoon earned the distinction of being lowest graded in the NFCS.

With 12 sacks last season, Junior may not be as "secret" as they were going for.

I don't know the formulas PFF uses, but when I watched the games Worrilow was all about getting after the ball. He made great plays, and is considered the worst? he had 79 total tackles and 2 assists.

I just do not see how he is graded pretty poorly according to pff standards.

he is no luke keuchly but he isn't one of the worst by any means.

just not many passes defended and stuffs. but he shouldnt be one of the worst.

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I don't know the formulas PFF uses, but when I watched the games Worrilow was all about getting after the ball. He made great plays, and is considered the worst? he had 79 total tackles and 2 assists.

I just do not see how he is graded pretty poorly according to pff standards.

he is no luke keuchly but he isn't one of the worst by any means.

just not many passes defended and stuffs. but he shouldnt be one of the worst.

I'm not sure how they grade either but they gave him low marks in coverage and run support.

He earned two positive weekly grades and seven negative. The others were neutral.

And they gave him credit for 91 tackles and 13 assists between middle and outside.

Edited by Utah_Saint
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People jumping all over this like they said "book this kid a trip to canton!" Chill out, all they basically said was that he has a chance of being special which he does, ATL fans just shitting on anything saints related, if this was article about Hageman who hasn't played a single down in the NFL, I think falcons fans would be singing a different song.

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People jumping all over this like they said "book this kid a trip to canton!" Chill out, all they basically said was that he has a chance of being special which he does, ATL fans just shitting on anything saints related, if this was article about Hageman who hasn't played a single down in the NFL, I think falcons fans would be singing a different song.

not really bud.

anyone has the chance of being special. such as ours I do not agree it to be lowery.

hageman i don't really know anything about and would not be singing his praise or anything. I am just as critical against the falcons as I am with everyone else.

and as utah stated. I can see where he got the poor grades (worrilow) his pass coverage is pretty shoddy i guess, but I was always thinking his run support was pretty decent. Guess I am wrong on that one.

maybe he should convert to DE. lol

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PFF doesn't really like Luke either. I mean they still rate him as one of their top players, but they take needless shots at him every time they get the chance.

One reason I don't care much for their grading system sometimes. They have an obvious bias for guys like Mathis and Watt among others. You'd think those were the two greatest players of all time if you took PFFs opinion as the gospel.

They're still a nice reference though.

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I am expecting big things out of Hicks this year...been on this guy's bandwagon since training camp his rookie year

the DLineman's third year is typically a big year for them...that's when they make their biggest jump in performance. he didn't get as much time in college as most do, so he was pretty raw coming in

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