Philadelphia Eagles have a rising star in Jordan Hicks
A two-interception performance to end the season confirms a bright future is ahead for Jordan Hicks.
One year ago, Jordan Hicks took over the starting middle linebacker position as a rookie. He’s proven to have the ability to quarterback a defense ever since. He makes plays in pass defense, and he fills lanes in the running game. With Hicks at the helm, the Philadelphia Eagles finished the 2016 season ranked 13th in the NFL in yards allowed. In 2015, they were ranked 30th in the same category. Hicks’ contribution to the team is irrefutable. He finished the year tied for second in the NFL (for linebackers) with 11 passes defended.
One of the most important signs of a player’s development is the ability to stay healthy and show statistical progression. Hicks went from playing 8 games in 2015, to starting in all 16 in 2016. Last season, before Hicks tore a pectoral muscle against the Dallas Cowboys, he had accrued 43 total tackles (50 combined), two interceptions, three fumble recoveries, a forced fumble and an interception that he took back to the house for a touchdown.
Are Jim Schwartz and Hicks a good pair for Eagles?
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In Schwartz’s first season as the defensive coordinator for the Eagles, the team improved tremendously from the previous year. With Hicks basically becoming an extension of Schwartz on the field, the Eagles ranked 12th in the NFL for points allowed. “The birds” also finished 12th overall in points allowed per game. Comparatively, the birds were 28th in points allowed in 2015 and 28th in points allowed per game. The team’s progress has been obvious, and the defense needs to be a reliable again in 2017 if the Eagles are to contend.
The future looks bright.
Hicks, a third-round draft pick out of the Texas Longhorns program, had a monster game on Sunday to end his second season. Hicks picked off Cowboys quarterback Mark Sanchez twice. In doing so, Hicks helped make sure the Cowboys had no shot in coming back in the game. In four career games against the Cowboys, Hicks has accrued 21 tackles, a sack, and four interceptions, including one interception that was returned for a touchdown. Dallas boasts two prolific rookies in Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott, Hicks will need to continue to thrive as the rivalry will reach new heights going forward.
Moving forward, the Eagles need to address their cornerback situation. They also need to add more depth to the linebacker corps. Hicks and Nigel Bradham showcased stability and big-play potential. Hicks, like quarterback Carson Wentz, has also affirmed Philadelphia’s found key components for their future success. He’s quickly become a fan-favorite, and as the team finds more success, he could become a household name.