NFL Draft Analysis: Hakeem Nicks, WR, North Carolina Tarheels

by Ben Rubin on February 23, 2009 @ 00:00:00 PDT

 


University of North Carolina wide receiver Hakeem Nicks enters the 2009 NFL Draft on a high note. Nicks dominated the Meineke Car Care Bowl, catching eight passes for 217 yards and three touchdowns to go along with a few spectacular catches.

When fellow wide receiver Brandon Tate tore his anterior cruciate ligament and medial collateral ligament during the 2008 season, Nicks stepped up. He finished the season with 68 receptions for 1,222 yards and 12 touchdowns, earning First-Team All-Atlantic Coast Conference honors. He set school records in each of his three years with the Tar Heels, breaking the receptions (39) and receiving (660) records among freshmen. He set the most receptions in a season (74) as a sophomore, while breaking the career receptions, receiving and touchdowns mark as a junior.

Strengths

  • Can catch any ball thrown in his direction
  • Displays good acceleration
  • A physical wide receiver
  • Very athletic
  • Good size at 6-foot 3/4, 212 pounds

Weaknesses

  • Only average speed for his position (4.54-second 40-yard dash)
  • Not a legitimate deep threat
  • Does not run well in the open field
  • Came out as a junior and could use more polishing

Expected draft placement

Nicks is part of a very talented group of wide receivers this year, and he's probably the fifth best among them. Texas Tech's Michael Crabtree (foot), the University of Missouri's Jeremy Maclin, the University of Maryland's Darrius Heyward-Bey and the University of Florida's Percy Harvin will probably all be drafted ahead of him.

Nicks could be an ideal No. 2 wide receiver in the NFL; there will be quite a few teams looking to draft him between the end of the first and the middle of the second round.

The Indianapolis Colts could become very interested in him at the end of the first round since releasing wideout Marvin Harrison, because that would enable them to keep Anthony Gonzalez as their slot receiver. The Baltimore Ravens may also consider him in the first round; the Oakland Raiders, New York Giants, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Miami Dolphins would all consider him in the second round. It is unlikely Nicks will fall further than the Dolphins at No. 56.

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About Ben Rubin

Ben Rubin has been a KFFL contributor since 2007.

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