Prior to the 2019 season, Akiem Hicks had only missed three games since being a third round draft pick of the New Orleans Saints in 2012. He missed two games as a rookie reserve then one more in 2014. Even when he was traded to the Patriots in 2015 he still managed to suit up for 16 games that season.
He signed with the Chicago Bears in 2016 and for three years he never missed a start. But then last year a minor injury to his ankle and then a severe injury to his elbow limited him to only five games. The Bears sorely missed his presence up front as their defense fell from the top ranked DVOA defense in 2018 to number eight last year.
With him healthy and back to throwing 300 pounds around on the bench with ease, he’s looking to get back to his dominating self.
Pro Football Network recently ranked Hicks as the fifth best interior defensive lineman in the NFL.
5. Akiem Hicks, Chicago Bears
Hicks is a freakshow with his blend of power and absolute dominance. His tape was an incredible ride from start to stop, as his dominance shows itself from the get-go. He’s violent with his hands and uses that to knife through the double-teams that his presence commands. Hicks has compiled 38 pressures in the last two seasons and should return to being one of the best interior defensive linemen in the NFL.
Here are the players ranked ahead of Hicks; DeForest Buckner, Indianapolis Colts (4), Chris Jones, Kansas City Chiefs (3), Fletcher Cox, Philadelphia Eagles (2), and Aaron Donald, Los Angeles Rams (1).
Do you agree with Hicks’ placement on their list?
Bears’ fans appreciated Hicks’ effort along their defensive line early on, but he was finally nationally recognized for his talents with a Pro Bowl appearance after the 2018 season. He even cracked the NFL’s Top 100 Players list at number 39 after his big year helping the Bears to a 12-4 record that season.
If the 30-year old Hicks can stay healthy in 2020 he should find himself back in the Pro Bowl, but more importantly, he’ll help the Bears win more than eight games.