Can Jordan Hicks become a top-ten linebacker in year three?

The Eagles defense will, again, be a huge unknown going into the 2017 season, but whatever happens, they’ll need even more out of their quarterback on defense.

One of the biggest concerns for the Philadelphia Eagles heading into 2016 was whether or not they’d be able to rely on Jordan Hicks to be on the field for all 16 games. He’d spent time out of the lineup, missing the final eight games of his rookie season. Before that, he was also hampered by injuries during his time with the Texas Longhorns.

Hicks showed how durable he was capable of being in 2016, starting all 16 games. He’s already emerged as one of the leaders on defense, and even more will be expected of him next season. He’s had to learn two defensive schemes in two seasons, but now that he’s had an entire year to digest the intricacies of the Jim Schwartz scheme, another question can be asked.

How good is he capable of becoming?

How good is he?

Naming the best linebacker in the NFL could cause debate and would change depending on who you ask, so let’s just compare him to one of the best. We all agree that Luke Kuechly, middle linebacker of the Carolina Panthers, is at the top of the league at his position right? Is Hicks any less talented than Kuechly is? Does either player cover the field better or tackle better than the other? Does one lack the athleticism of the other? Not really.

How does he get better?

So what does Hicks need to do to be seen in the same vein of the upper-echelon of linebackers? He seems to already know. Recently, he sat down with media whiz Dave Spadaro. He credited his success this past season to changing his off-season workout regimen and being more focused, but just in case you missed it, that interview can be accessed by clicking here.

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During the off-season, Hicks intends to get stronger to help him shed blocks better. We all know there’s basically no blitzing in Schwartz’s scheme, and pressure is basically the responsibility of the defensive line. The linebackers are expected to make plays at the second level and help out with the passing game. Hicks proved he was capable of both in 2016.

Conclusion:

Sure, we’d like to see Hicks sent on a blitz three or four times a game, but that’s probably not going to happen. How good he is capable of becoming is still yet to be determined, but one thing’s certain. Hick’s success is basically up to Hicks. He’s that good, and with his intelligence, work ethic, maturity and dedication to the game, he could easily find his way into the top-ten linebackers in the league and become a household name.

No one will complain if he does.

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