LSU! LSU! LSU!
Akiem Hicks must be having deja vu right about now. Karma kept him from the Tigers and a chance to showcase his talent in the NCAA’s big time, also known as the SEC. Now, he’s back, and he’ll be playing in the world’s best sporting venue, the
Louisiana Mercedes Benz Superdome. For the world’s best football team. At just the right time.
Like a lot of Loomis’ picks, this one underwhelmed me. I know enough by now to shrug it off, to admit that Mickey knows a lot more about this business than I do. But like a lot of his picks, the more I think about it, the more I get used to the fact of it, the more I like it. Hicks may be raw, but he’s probably more talented than any other defensive tackle in this draft. He’s big, he’s fast (for a tackle), he can play 3 or 5. He’s adaptable. He’s certainly motivated. And he’s the kind of player—apparently—that fits Spagnuolo’s scheme (unless you believe Spags was sitting alone in a corner the whole time, whining “No, Mickey, not that guy!”). So if you’re high on the scheme, you have to let Spags roll the dice how he sees fit. And if you’ve learned to trust Mickey’s judgment, you have to accept that, while a few of his picks don’t pan out, the majority will. Overall, the Saints are going to come out of the offseason better.
That’s not to say that everyone is on board. Pete Prisco, for instance, gave the Saints a D grade for this choice:
Isn’t this high for a kid from Canada? This is a strange pick, but he did go to LSU before running into troubles that forced him to Canada.
What do you call that…canuckophobia? Nationism? What a downright peculiar assessment. If he had said, Hicks is too much of a reach at this pick, they should have waited, don’t the Saints know about picking for value, blah blah blah, I might have disagreed with him, but I would have admitted that his argument was at least logical. But this? Does he have a bot to do his work for him now? How does one get a job at CBS, anyway?
Walter, over at WalterFootball.com, who usually is logical, even when I disagree with him, gives the pick a C grade, for exactly the blah blah reasons above:
The Saints needed defensive tackle help, but Akiem Hicks was a bit of a reach at this juncture. No major big board had him in the top 125. The good news though is that Hicks has enormous upside, so maybe the Saints can turn him into a good player. He’s worth the gamble.
Someone needs to point out to mock drafters that they are bloggers; they aren’t professional NFL front office gurus, like Matt Millen, but just average joes with an opinion and a WordPress install. You can rip on Millen all you want, and you’ll likely be right; but you never have to test your own prowess against obdurate reality. That’s a big advantage, and it’s enjoyed by everyone from Mike Mayock to me. I could be catastrophically wrong, and you’d never know.
So what’s my own opinion, you ask? Glad you asked. My own opinion is that, barring injury, Hicks is going to be the steal of this draft, just as Jimmy Graham was a couple years ago. From everything I’ve read about him, I see no reason to believe he’s going to become the second coming of Al Woods. Call this rank homerism if you want to, because that’s what it is. Doesn’t mean it’s wrong. And if you’re not a homer, what the hell are you doing here?
A couple interesting articles on Hicks. Here is WWL’s interview with him after the pick was made. Money quote: “Who doesn’t watch Drew Brees break records? I watch football. You can’t watch football without watching the New Orleans Saints.”
And here is the Saints’ own interview with Joe Vitt and Steve Spagnuolo. Money quote (from Spags): “Don’t quote me on that.” Ha! Doesn’t he realize who he’s talking to?
And here, here, and here are articles detailing the recruiting scandal that deprived Hicks of his chance to play at LSU. I will never understand how the NCAA figured the best punishment for incidents like this was to deprive the recruit of his chance at a college education, and to cut down on the number of others who might win scholarships as well. Whoever makes these decisions must all be former cabinet officers.
Nick Toon? With Cam Johnson still miraculously available, they draft a wide receiver who is not in any way a replacement for Robert Meachem? What’s wrong with Mickey all of a sudden?
I just can’t get behind this pick. We lost one of our speed guys; we replace him with a junior Colston. Not that he won’t be good, but he won’t do much to stretch the field. We don’t need more possession receivers.
So what was that I said about trusting Mickey? Well, Mike Mayock said that Toon is the most accomplished route runner coming out in this draft. There’s that, I suppose. So he’ll be ready to take playing time away from Lance Moore. I should be happy about this?
I believe…I believe…it’s stupid, but I believe…
(Can’t wait for the “Nick at Night” jokes to start whenever we play in prime time.)
Corey White!? With Cam Johnson still miraculously available, they draft a small school cornerback?
Oh…I get it. Small school. This is another Hofstra/Bloomsburg/Towson pick. That Mickey, he’s fiendishly clever.
But…wouldn’t White have been available at a lower round…or even in free agency? Was he really the best player still available?
I believe…I believe…it’s stupid, but I believe…
Andrew Tiller. This, I have to admit, makes sense. The Saints have a need for good depth on the offensive line, and maybe Tiller is it. Maybe. We’ll see. As for Cam Johnson, I guess the entire world was wrong about him. Guy must be garbage.
Marcel…what was that name again? Yeah, Marcel Jones. An offensive tackle in the seventh round. Can you say “camp body?”
And so…that’s that. In all, the most uninspiring draft class since 2007. Maybe even worse. However, if Hicks and Toon can eventually be starters, it’s not all bad. Considering the base the Saints are starting with, we didn’t need a great draft. Now, everything shifts to the undrafted free agents, where the Saints have had good fortune in the past. Free agents like to sign with the Saints because they know they have an actual chance. On the other hand, they have to beat out some top-notch players.
Let’s please just play the damn games already.