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Akiem Hicks Is Better Than Michael Brockers

Discussion in 'Patriots Draft Talk' started by manxman2601, Apr 12, 2012.

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  1. manxman2601

    manxman2601 Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    #24 Jersey

    That probably got your attention. Actually I'm not trying to argue that right now this is the case. I am however interested in discussing their value for the Pats relative to their draft slot. Consider:

    Akiem Hicks:

    6'5''
    318 lbs
    35 1/8'' arms

    Michael Beockers:

    6'5''
    322 lbs
    35'' arms

    In this respect then, there is no real difference between the two.

    On to the combine:

    40 time:

    Hicks: 5.23
    Brockers: 5.36

    Shuttle:

    Hicks: 4.86
    Brockers 4.81

    3-Cone:

    Hicks:7.75
    Brockers 7.46

    Vert:

    Hicks: 31.5
    Brockers: 26.5

    Broad:

    Hicks: 9'0''
    Brockers: 8'9''

    Bench:

    Hicks: 26
    Brockers: 21


    So whilst generally their numbers are close, Brockers looks to be the more fluid athlete whilst Hicks is the stronger and slightly more explosive and I know which of those values I'd rather have in a DT.

    Now the main reason for raising this point is that (according to Twitter), Michael Lombardi said yesterday that Hicks was regarded as a better prospect at LSU than Brockers. I didn't see the comment so I'm unclear on the context. Now I acknowledge that Brockers has spent longer in a quality program than Hicks with the coaching that that entails. But that has hardly led to an every down guy. Brockers has the ability to get on the field early for the Patriots as a run down DE/DT. However, if LSU were taking him off the field on passing downs, it's unlikely that BB will leave him on the field in the same situation. And we already have someone on the line adept at defending the run in Kyle Love. Do we really need Brockers to perform the same function as Love, particularly if it requires a significant trade up in the first to achieve it?

    That leads us on to upside. Is there anything about Michael Brockers to suggest that he has the upside to be anything other than a run stuffer? I don't know but if talent, physical size and combine measurables are the best way to predict upside, I don't see Brockers having greater upside than Hicks - they're almost exactly the same at all 3.

    In summary then, Brockers' only advantage over Hicks is longer spent in a quality coaching environment and the ability to be on the field more in year one albeit in a limited capacity. But there's little difference between them in terms of upside. On the other hand, Brockers would most likely require the use of two premium draft picks and the passing over of other quality prospects. Hicks on the other hand is likely to go between rounds four and six.

    so my question is, is there really a value advantage in drafting Michael Brockers over taking Akiem Hicks?

    Edit:

    I'm not trying to suggest that Hicks should be a first rounder or that Brockers doesn't deserve his grade. I'm not trying to pull a Derek Wolfe/Jake Bequette here. I have no reason to contend their respective grades. What I'm suggesting is that if Brockers is limited initially to rushing downs and has no greater upside than Hicks (which of course is debatable), does the significant cost of drafting Brockers represent better value than drafting Hicks?

    I fully expect to get slated for suggesting this :)
     
  2. Wilfork#75

    Wilfork#75 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

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    #75 Jersey

    I understand the point you are trying to make, and 2 months ago when Hicks was a late round sleeper I probably would have agreed that he is better value than Brockers. But now I think Hick's has quickly become one of the most overrated players in this draft. He has physical talent, that is for sure. But he is so raw that I couldn't justify using any higher than a 5th round pick on him. I've seen him as high as the 3rd round and I wouldn't be surprised to see a team use a late 2nd on him. To me that makes him far worse value because he is being over-drafted based on what he can be and not what he is.

    If your looking for a late round value guy with big upside, my pick is Chigbo Anunoby from Morehouse. He's a 6-4 324lbs monster run stuffer that also has some upside as a pass rusher. This is what Wes Bunting has to say about him

    Chigbo Anunoby- National Football Post

    He's likely an UDFA, but I wouldn't have a problem spending a late round pick on him.
     
  3. PatriotReign

    PatriotReign Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

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    #24 Jersey

    I'm not sold on Brockers either but Hicks has a few red flags. I wouldn't look at him until the 5th or 6th round.

    Link
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2012
  4. Blackluck

    Blackluck Practice Squad Player

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    I don't know that we can answer this question. Coach-ability, for example. BB has said in the past that pass rush can be taught. I think that can only be ascertained in interviews (the player, his coaches.) Seymour was a freak of nature - those players are rare. Size alone and measurables also don't answer the question if they can anchor, another important attribute for our scheme.

    There is risk involved in moving up for Brockers. You're gambling on upside and potential. Brockers is a one year starter and reportedly had bad interviews (I've heard others say this but I've not found any direct information on that.) He certainly doesn't fit the profile of a first round prospect we would move up in the draft to get.

    Logic says we stay put at 27, grab BPA or because the value of this draft is in the second round, trade down and accrue extra picks this year and next - in other words SOP.

    That said, while the Pats have problems evaluating DBs and WRs, we seem to do better with defensive lineman. If Belichick moves up to take Brockers then in his opinion the move is worth the extra pick we lose (we can get to 17-20 by trading 27 and 62, and can recoup the 2nd round pick by trading down from 31) so the cost isn't that expensive (which in reality would be either a developmental WR or DB depth/ST player.)
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2012
  5. stevedogc

    stevedogc Third String But Playing on Special Teams

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    Another late round, possibly UDFA DT prospect is Dominique Hamilton from Missouri. Here is his write up from NFP:

    Dominique Hamilton

    A tall, long-armed defensive tackle with a thick, but athletic looking, frame. Still has the ability to continue to fill out, but carries his 305-pounds very well. Is at his best vs. the run game. He coils up well for a taller defensive tackle and can keep his base under him, with his back flat, and doesn't waste any motion getting off the football. Exhibits good ball awareness inside off the snap and has a "plus" first step for his size. He also does a nice job staying low off the ball, extending his arms into the chest plate of blockers and creating a jolt into contact. Works his legs through the point and has the lower body strength to overwhelm into the backfield and/or fight his way off of blocks when trying to one-gap. Does a nice job extending his arms through the play and controls blocks well through contact. Is strong armed and can anchor, but tends to get a bit upright through the play and is straight-legged, which takes away from his ability to shed and two gap. Is a bit inconsistent at times locating the football as well, he'll sometimes take himself out of plays inside, but exhibits good range in pursuit, can play off blocks and has a good motor working toward the football.

    Is still developing as a pass rusher. He displays some get off burst and athletic ability when asked to stunt inside and close, but he struggles to keep his pad level down as effectively off the ball when trying to rush the passer. He gets upright, which limits his get-off burst and power into contact and he can be easily handled on contact. Doesn't use his hands as well to violently shed and isn't real laterally sudden when trying to side step defenders. He played in only seven games last season due to a broken ankle and might have some medical concerns going forward.

    Impression: Plays the run much stronger than his frame would indicate. He's got a burst off the snap, plays with leverage and extends his long arms. Has the frame to add 15 to 20 pounds and looks like a 3-4 five-technique at the next level who could start in the league.






    .
     
  6. IllegalContact

    IllegalContact Pro Bowl Player

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    my red flag on hicks would be his shuttle and 3 cone. 40 time difference is meaningless to an interior lineman, but he's even slower on the short stuff.

    too slow

    I'd take kheeston randle over either

    http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft/players/1632495
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2012
  7. Wilfork#75

    Wilfork#75 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

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    #75 Jersey

    I agree, you know what you are getting with Randall. He is very good against the run, but will offer almost nothing as a pass rusher. But out of a 4th round pick, I think you would have to be pretty happy with a solid 2 down contributor.
     
  8. Off The Grid

    Off The Grid Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    #3 Jersey

    Right you are, Brother Manx!! :D

    And allow me to add: Welcome Aboard. ;)

    This is, of course, what I've been saying for quite some time:

    New England Patriots Forums - PatsFans.com Patriots Fan Messageboard

    In my latest Mock ~ V13.0 ~ I made Defensive Tackle Priority 1.

    And I deliberately passed on Brockers, precisely because I believe that my boys Akiem Hicks and Chigbo Anunoby both command the same level of Upside, yet are Day 3 and UFA!! :eek:

    So I chose...both!! :D

    My Reports:

    #144 ~ DT/DE Akiem Hicks ~ 6.5/320!!

    [​IMG]

    Potential Beast with a Low Floor!!

    Akiem Hicks commands my Trifecta: Impressive Core Strength, Explosive Burst, and superior Fluidity.

    The Long Arms are a pretty sweet bonus, too.

    Raw?? Oh, HELL, yeah.

    He needs a lot of work.

    But so do Michael Brockers and Dontari Poe, who are looking at 1st Round Market Value.

    Hicks has a dubious resume and needs to answer some questions, otherwise I'd put a 1st Rounder stamp on'm.

    Even as it is, he represents one hell of a sweet roll of the dice on Day 3!!

    #219 ~ DT/DE Chigbo Anunoby ~ 6.4/328!!

    [​IMG]

    Chigbo Anunoby commands utterly brutal Core Strength, surprisingly decent Fluidity, and absolutely startling Processing Speed for a Prospect coming from a small school.

    Anunoby is merely one of the many gems unearthed by Wes Bunting of National FootBall Post.

    He is very raw, of course, and is much better against the Run than the Pass, but there's no question that he commands remarkable upside.
     
  9. Snake Eyes

    Snake Eyes Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    Great call, when there are MANY mid-late round unpolished gems it makes so much more sense to trade back than to take a single unpolished gem in the 1st round.
     
  10. Off The Grid

    Off The Grid Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    #3 Jersey

    Great Call!! [​IMG]

    I'm a big fan of Hamilton, who's been in my Mocks since V1.0, back in October!! :rocker:
     
  11. Off The Grid

    Off The Grid Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    #3 Jersey

    Beauty!! Couldn't've said it better, myself!! :rocker:
     
  12. reamer

    reamer Third String But Playing on Special Teams

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    I would have agreed with you guys as recently as a few weeks ago. Fletcher Cox, for example, makes Brockers look slow. And we want an "impact" guy, right? Well, I went back and reviewed all the games I could get hold of, and Brockers simply plays the game differently from those other players. He is a true power tackle, a two-gap player who plays through blocks instead of around them. In fact, I don't think he's anywhere near as "raw" as everyone keeps parroting. He's not a polished pass-rusher, I will give you that, although the ability to collapse the pocket is more important to me than a guy who simply knifes in and notches a sack. Nonetheless, against the run he's a pro-ready player who will instantly upgrade the NE front seven. I don't care what the combine numbers were (although his pro day was significantly better in every single mark, beyond what mere standard deviation can account for), I care about how he approaches the field.

    Hicks plays like a 43 DE. By that I mean he is always trying to get around the player ahead of him. He's a speed-rusher in a big body. He's not a power-player at all. He could eventually learn, perhaps, but I don't like his style. Yes, he's a strong, massive man, but that doesn't mean he's a good football player.

    For late rounders, Christo Bilukidi is my guy. Great workout numbers aside, he fires off the ball strong, delivers a powerful punch to the OL's chest, and plays straight through the blocks. He's a ready-made two-gap end, despite the lower level of competition. I like him as much as Brockers, in fact.

    I used to be all about trading down and acquiring value picks, but in the last week my mocks have become more streamlined: 6 - 8 players only, with a trade up for Brockers, Bilukidi in the mid rounds, and then a few calculated risks in later rounds.

    I've read all the scouting reports. I watched all the games casually. Now I am digging into tapes more meticulously, and I am refining my grades. In almost all other cases, I merely confirmed my previous beliefs, but further review of Brockers has moved him up to the number one spot on my big board. I think he's a blue-chip player, capable of playing as a top-five interior defensive lineman, and that's worth a premium pick, indeed.
     
  13. Off The Grid

    Off The Grid Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    #3 Jersey

    I LOVE Michael Brockers.

    LOVE the guy...as my write up surely left no doubt about.

    1 ~ But I find the Upside gap between him and Akiem Hicks to be minimal, despite the yawning gap in their Market Values. I heartily agree that Brockers is LIGHT years ahead of Hicks as a Run Defender, right now...And indeed I also agree with your characterization of Hicks as more of an Attacker...But as a guy who lines up next to Wilfork as a Tackle in the "43" and at End in the "34", I DO want a slashing, attacking 320 Pounder!! HELL, yeah!! :rocker:

    2 ~ And as run CRUSHER ~ one who gets an "A" from me for Processing Speed and Diagnostic Prowess, same as Brockers ~ I think Chigbo Anunoby, at the end of the developmental day, is Brockers' EQUAL...And THAT is intended to be lofty praise, INDEED!! :D

    3 ~ My current dream is to steal and develop BOTH these guys.

    I believe that they'd compliment each other PERFECTLY in the "34", flanking Vince Wilfork...

    And I believe that they'd make for a NIGHTMARISH D Tackle Rotation.

    4 ~ Anunoby could roll with Wilfork on Run Downs, and ANNIHILATE the middle, forcing EVERY Runner outside, running sideways, as the expression goes ~ :D ~ and exposing his Flanks to the fury of Brandon Spikes, Jerod Mayo, Dane Fletcher, and the rest'f'm!!

    5 ~ And Hicks could be the PERFECT penetrating compliment to Wilfork on Pass Downs, DEMOLISHING the middle and sending the QuarterBack fleeing for his LIFE!! :rocker:
     
  14. SeymourTrophies

    SeymourTrophies Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

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    #93 Jersey

    As long as we don't get Poe, I'm happy. I've never seen a 330+ pound guy who is finesse.

    We know who Brockers is, and he fits the 2-gap system beautifully and has incredible awareness. Not a soul will get push against him, and even though he is not getting sacks, you can watch the film and see other people getting them when Brockers gets those mitts up to block passes coming his way and buys his boys some more time.

    Of course, if BB thinks Hicks and Anunoby are comparable, their value is massive in comparison. You could sacrifice some earlier picks to get the guy you really want at another position, but it's hard to say how much of what those guys were at Morehouse and Regina will translate to NFL success. They certainly weren't getting it done against comparable competition.

    I would have no problem, and may or may not fantasize :eek:, about a big ugly in the middle with Vince moving all over the line in defensive sets. The pocket will be a thing of the past.
     
  15. Wilfork#75

    Wilfork#75 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

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    #75 Jersey

    I completely agree with this. I've just been finishing off my latest mock, and the more I look at what the Pats have done this offseason, the more I think Greg Bedard was correct in thinking the Pats will continue to run more of a base 4-3 Under than go back to a traditional 3-4. I don't think we currently have the roster to play the traditional two-gap 3-4, and I can't see us being able to obtain those pieces to successfully run that defense before the start of the season. On the other hand, I think we have most of the starting pieces of a 4-3 U base but a lack of depth. What I think the 4-3 U does is create more versatility along the D-Line and open up opportunities for a wider variety of players we wouldn't have seen in the past. Instead of the strict requirements for 3-4 DE's and OLB's, I think you replace that with greater depth and a range of skill sets to allow the team to adapt to different situations. To me that reduces the need to reach for DL in the 1st round, and as Snake Eyes said, we may be better off with 2 or 3 mid round guys rather than one 1st rounder.

    Now that doesn't mean I don't think we will play some 3 man fronts, but I think it will be dependent on match-ups. I think the 4-3 U allows you to use different spacing alignments and gap assignments which make up for some of the disguise you lose moving to a base 4 man front. And the rotation of quality role players through the D-Line will make up for the lack of an elite talent like a Richard Seymour.

    Looking at the current roster, the biggest needs I see to run a 4-3 U as our base defense are:

    2 Elephant OLB's. These are the 4th down lineman that will often one-gap the weak side. They need to be strong run defenders to set the edge, as well as have the ability to pressure the QB. I think this is a position that doesn't have the same type of strict physical requirements (Height, weight) that the traditional 3-4 OLB does, so it could open up the type of player we look for. Hopefully Andre Carter can come back healthy and fill one spot, but I think the other needs to be a rookie. To me the perfect guy is Courtney Upshaw. He is by far the best run defending DE/OLB in the draft, and has a quick first step and violent hands in the trenches. I think his length is less of an issue as a mainly down lineman, so I see no reason not to draft him if he falls to 27. Trevor Scott is also a possibility for this position, but I'm more intrigued by his potential to back up Ninko at SLB in the base.

    1 Big LDE. This is closer to a traditional 3-4 DE where the lineman will generally two-gap the strong side. But this position also requires a good amount of athleticism and lateral agility to be able to play on the edge. I'm pretty happy with Brandon Deaderick starting in this role, but I would like to add a young guy to the rotation and add depth. The guy I really like for this role is Billy Winn from Boise State. He's got decent size, is good against the run and also adds the ability to play inside on passing downs. Jonathan Fanene could also fill this role, but I'm not sure how well he would translate to this position.

    1 Run stuffing DT/DE- I'm happy enough with Wilfork and Love starting in the base, but I think we need another run stuffer to add depth and play in 3 man fronts where I don't think Love is a great fit. The guy I like here is Kheeston Randall from Texas, who I think can play 5-tech and 3-tech on running downs. I also think he could also be a potential backup as the big LDE in the base. I would have prefered to fill this position through FA, but with my top guys off the board (Luis Castillo re-signing and John Henderson retiring), I think its a draft need. Ron Brace could fill this role, but I don't think he can be counted on. I also think Gerard Warren could also be brought back as depth in training camp.

    Interior pass rushing DT- I like the Fanene signing, and I think he is a natural fit to come in and replace Mike Wright. Myron Pryor has flashed as a solid pass rusher but can't stay healthy. Deaderick looks solid, but I think we need 1 more guy to compete for snaps on passing downs. Ideally that guy will be one of the guys you drafted for the previous two positions, and with Billy Winn I think that is the case. He certainly has the ability to get after the QB, adding a lot of versatility to the D-Line.

    I think we are pretty solid in our LBing corp with Mayo, Spikes and Ninko as the starters. I think we could still add depth, especially in pass coverage LBers, where I think there are a number of interesting draft possibilities. Zach Brown, Lavonte David, Bobby Wagner and Sean Spence are all intriguing guys, but the best value guy to me is Emmanuel Acho from Texas. He should be around in the 4th/5th round, and any guy that can keep Tracy White off the field on defense is good thing. I would also look at a specialist pass rusher in the mid rounds. Bruce Irvin is an option but will likely go too high. The other guy I'm really intrigued by is Jonathan Massaquoi from Troy, who has enormous upside as a pass rusher, but needs coaching and time to develop into a well rounded player.

    Potential Roster

    Elephant OLB- Upshaw, Carter (Scott?)
    Base DT- Wilfork, Love, Randall/Brace/Warren
    Big LDE- Deaderick, Winn
    Sub DT- Fanene, Winn, Deaderick, Pryor
    WLB- Mayo, Acho
    MLB- Spikes, Fletcher
    SLB- Ninko, Carpenter (Scott?)
    Sub Rusher- Scott, Massaquoi
     
  16. BlackFrancis

    BlackFrancis Practice Squad Player

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    Athletically, the two kids from NC State, Kuhn and Sweezy, are better than either Brockers or Hicks, at least from a standpoint of putting them outside on the 5. No idea if either of them will amount to much but I'm unsure Brockers or Hicks will either.

    Really wish Bilukidi had been invited to the combine, as the numbers coming out of pro days this year have been mostly a load of crap.
     
  17. DW Toys

    DW Toys In the Starting Line-Up

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    If we are all in the mood for a DT, I never see this name attached to the Pats yet this guy is a BB type player with a body of work the bests any of these others. He was invited to the Combine as a DT but can play both. He is 6'5" and hovers around 286 and as low as 280lbs. He is a bigger strong version of mike Wright and has pass rush ability the others lack. If we go back to a 3-4 his is the DE you want. He tore a pec in 2011 but is healed and did 26 reps his pro day and ran high 4's at the combine (4.95). 9.5 sacks in both 09 and 10. 8th on all time Nebraska sack list. Would have been top of first round if not for the injury. Jared Crick. If BB liked Wright, this guy is better.

    Brockers is a gamble at best. I like Hicks but too little competition. Cox won't last but you can get Crick in the second.BB like to take a shot with the healed and straightened out.
    In a 3-4 this is the length and speed you need.
    My two cents.
    DW Toys
     
  18. Ochmed Jones

    Ochmed Jones Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    #12 Jersey

    If we can not get Brockers in a first round trade up, then Randle is a guy, I like a lot. He is very good at holding his ground even agaisnst double teams and he finds the ball. Hes by no means a finsihed product, but he is a guy that with better coaching and some time in the Nash S&C program, could be a decent rotational end in our system.
     
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