New York Giants: What Should We Expect from Hakeem Nicks in 2012?
On the heels of his first Super Bowl victory—a game in which he logged 10 receptions for 109 yards—Nicks is ready to lead the charge of the Big Blue receiving corps and make the leap from good to great in 2012.
Let's break down what we can anticipate seeing from Nicks this season.
A Seamless Re-Integration
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The team played most of its preseason games without its top receiver, but Nicks returned in time to play in the Giants' final exhibition matchup versus New England.
He managed to haul in one catch over the middle of the field for a gain of six, before taking a seat along with the rest of the first-teamers.
Nicks reported no issues with the foot, as he explained during his sideline interview (via NFL.com), "No problem with the foot. It felt good, and I'll be ready to start the season."
Nicks showed no signs of hampered mobility Wednesday. He suited up to play in all but one game in 2011, so history would lead us to believe this shouldn't be a lingering issue for the 24-year-old.
Expect Nicks to pick up right where he left off in '11. Regardless of his limited action in the preseason, he's still lining up wide as Eli Manning's top threat.
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Last season, Hakeem Nicks recorded at least four receptions in 11 of 16 games for the Giants. Expect more of the same from Nicks this year, as he'll line up opposite Victor Cruz as Eli Manning's top receiving threat.
Nicks' above-average size and gigantic hands make him the most reliable option among the Giants' set of pass-catchers.
He's been hauling in Eli Manning touchdowns ever since his rookie year in 2009 when he scored six times. Twenty-three career scores later, Nicks has made a name for himself as New York's go-to wideout.
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Hakeem Nicks has followed up each of his first two seasons as a New York Giant with a better one.
Following his rookie year in which he racked up 790 receiving yards and six touchdowns, he compiled over 1,000 yards on 79 receptions, 11 of those for scores.
The next year, Nicks nearly eclipsed 1,200 yards and increased his yards per reception from 13.3 to 15.7.
If history repeats itself in 2012—and Nicks improves on his 1,192-yard, seven-touchdown season—we're in for a heck of a showing by the fourth-year receiver in 2012.
With another year of experience under his belt—and a Super Bowl ring now in his trophy case—it would be incredibly surprising for Nicks to disappoint this season.
Emergence as a Top NFL Wideout
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2012 could be the season that catapults Hakeem Nicks into becoming a household name in the NFL.
All the pieces are in place.
2011 was Eli Manning's strongest of his career thus far—he threw for more yards than any quarterback in Giants single-season history.
Defenses will surely be focused on Victor Cruz opposite of Nicks, after Cruz's breakout 2011 season—he torched defenses last year for over 1,500 yards while putting points on the board nine times.
With Mario Manningham out of the fold for 2012, Nicks will be required to pick up some of the slack, and he'll undoubtedly see the ball come his way more often in the red zone.
If all goes according to plan this season, count on Nicks becoming the newest face of NFL wideouts.
Hakeem Nicks is entering the prime years of his career, and he's just beginning to get his feet wet in NFL stardom.
During last year's playoffs, Nicks went on a tear as he caught 28 passes for 444 yards and four touchdowns in four games—including his 10-catch, 100-yard Super Bowl performance.
Nicks will build off his most recent displays against the league's best. 2012 will mark the beginning of the Manning-to-Nicks combination sticking in football fans' heads for good.
Prediction: 84 REC, 1,317 YDS, 13 TD