Better Know a Draft Prospect: North Carolina Wide Receiver Hakeem Nicks

Introduction

When you are in the stadium watching the games, you get a sense of how David Garrard plays. You begin to see that he has favorite targets and has to form chemistry with the receiver. Ernest Wilford was someone David trusted, so was Dennis Northcutt. Reggie Williams began to develop that chemistry and David looked for him when he could. In 2008, our QB was left stranded without his familiar group. Wilford was gone, Northcutt was in the doghouse for some reason, Reggie couldn't get separation probably due to his knee and David had no one to go to. He began locking on Matt Jones and Matt responded. Jerry Porter did have a legitimate complaint when he said David never looked his way. I saw him open a number of times and David never even considered him as an option. Then again, I saw Jerry drop passes when David did key on him, so maybe it was justified.

So I didn't get the coaching philosophy around the wide receivers in 2008. Why sit Dennis down after signing him in free agency? If David is running for his life, where is his tight end? Why have David and Marcedes never really connected? Why was the receiving lineup always changing? I do think David and Mike Walker were getting it together when Mike went down again. David trusted Mike and would throw to him. Simply put, David Garrard never got comfortable with his receivers in 2008. Some of that injury, some of it coaching.

While investigating possible second round draft choices, I ran across Hakeem Nicks. I watched the video over and over and I couldn't help but think, this would be someone David would love to have on the team. This guy loves traffic, this guy loves getting physical and making the play. This guy has hands as big as Shaq's show size. I watched the greatest catch of 2008 over and over and realized you can trust Hakeem Nicks to catch the ball. It just struck me that David would lock in on him every play.

The data on Hakeem

Hakeem Nicks is no speed burner and that is the reason he may be available in round two. Projected to have 4.57 speed, he is hoping to be more of a Jerry Rice or Chad Johnson than a Larry Fitzgerald.

Hakeem is coming out early. His junior year, he caught 68 passes for 1,220 yards, 12 touchdowns. Against West Virginia in the all important Meineke Car Care Bowl, he caught 8 passes for 217 yards and three touchdowns. Boston College had a great defense, yet UNC put up 45 points with Hakeem Nicks catching 8 passes for 139 yards and scoring four times( three by air, one running). At 6'1" and 215 lbs, he can get up for the ball and take a hit. His hand size allows him to carry the ball easily, which does lead to bad carrying habits.

 

Hakeem Nicks BC vs NC Football Highlights 2008 (via vindawgvideo)

Now if you really want to see how good this guy can catch the ball, watch this video

 

Hakeem Nicks Greatest Catch of the Year? (via ajcgn6)

I could list what the draft scouts say about him, but if you watched the video, you saw everything.  The biggest issue with Hakeem is he doesn't possess the breakaway straight ahead speed.  So he has to apologize for Antoine Bolden or Jerry Rice speed?  I don't think so.

Why do I think Hakeem Nicks should be a Jaguar?

When I watch the tape I see someone David Garrard would be very comfortable with as a receiver.  Hakeem does not need a perfect ball thrown his way to make the catch.  He looks like a legitimate red zone threat.  If David keyed in on him, that only opens the field for Dennis or Matt or Mike, and then think of MJD coming out of the backfield. 

Assuming the O-Line has some stability and David has time to throw, and David has familiar targets, I see Hakeem Nicks getting Rookie of the Year consideration with the Jacksonville Jaguars.  It just feels like a good fit to me. The truth is, he is a first round prospect, but if he is available in the second, don't be surprised if Gene sees what you just watched. Based on what I am seeing, we could use three second round draft choices. 

Now I can already see the comments, he is just a possession receiver, we need a breakaway threat.  In truth, David is not a deep downfield arm. Besides, that is what Troy Williamson is. What we really can use is a guy who catches the ball and makes things happen. So watch the video and let me know what you think. 

 

 

 

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