Our next article in this series that puts the spotlight on the newest birds to fly into the Eagles Nest will focus on perhaps the most surprising and least popular pick by the Eagles.
When the Eagles selected Jordan Hicks, it definitely raised a few concerns amongst analysts and fans alike. Why would Chip Kelly select an inside linebacker when there is already little room to breathe at the position? However after some time has passed and OTA’s have been and gone, it’s evident that Chip is building for the future.
At the time, Hicks was the number one linebacker in the country when he was picked up by the Longhorns. A huge prospect that like new teammates also was plagued by injuries early in his career. He missed 19 games due to being unable to stay healthy but returned fully fit for his senior year, picking up Second Team All-Big 12 honors.
There is no doubting the physicality of Jordan Hicks. He moves from sideline to sideline with ease and has no problem covering running backs. Partner that with his elite build and that means he can keep Tight Ends at bay down the seam and challenge the most dynamic of receivers. He is evidently a coverage linebacker who had a sensational read of the game. It’s rare to see Hicks make an error and whilst he may not be a primetime player, attracting all the media attention with game impacting hits, he will quietly rack up the numbers and make the right tackles when needed.
The main drawback to Hicks’ style of play is that he tends to track running backs as opposed to challenge them in the trenches or attack the hole like you would expect. Whilst it stops the huge play, it does mean the back will pick up a lot more yards than if a tackle was made earlier. He tends to be a little conservative with blocks, in essence trying to get round them with agility as opposed to doing so with force. It’s that shyness that sees him over run quite a lot of the time and eliminates him from plays. It’s no surprise that he is a little more conservative when you take into account his medical history, but in this style of play, it’s something that will need to be eliminated quickly if he is to make the 53 man roster.
However, that doesn’t mean Hicks is not fit for this Chip Kelly style team. The guys at PhillyVoice actually drew up a very interesting table, comparing Hicks to current Eagles star DeMeco Ryans. And as you’ll see, the two are remarkably similar. Whilst Hicks may need some work to turn into an all star line-backer, he possesses every quality to do so including a physical frame similar to one that has been tried and tested in this team. With leaders like Ryans and Kendricks to help tutor the third round pick, he should blossom within 2-3 seasons. He may not start a game for a while this season, but Jordan Hicks may well be the future of the Eagles linebackers.
|DeMeco Ryans||Jordan Hicks|
|40 yard dash||4.65||4.68|
|20 yard shuttle||4.18||4.15|
Check out the very best from Jordan’s college career here.