Hakeem Nicks A Sleeper In NFL Draft

Wes MillerCorrespondent IMarch 27, 2009

CHAPEL HILL, NC - NOVEMBER 08:  Hakeem Nicks #88 of the North Carolina Tar Heels celebrates on the field during the game against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Kenan Stadium on November 8, 2008 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Hakeem Nicks is a 6-foot-1-inch, 212 lb. wide receiver out of the University of North Carolina. He is in the top four best wide receivers in this year's draft.

A high school All-American, Nicks didn't disappoint Tar Heel fans during his stay at UNC. He quickly drew scout's attention in his freshman and sophomore campaigns when he  caught 113 balls for 1,618 yards and nine touchdowns in his first two years on campus.

His best year was his standout junior year, when he caught 68 passes for 1,222 yards and 12 touchdowns, which earned him a spot on the All-ACC First Team. He really opened eyes when he caught eight passes for 217 yards and three touchdowns in the Meineke Car Care Bowl against West Virginia.

Hicks lacks elite stopwatch speed, but so did Anquan Boldin and Chad Johnson. He had an arm span of 33.5 inches and a hand span of 10.5 inches at the NFL Scouting Combine.

Some of his positives include his super hands that can adjust to horribly-thrown passes. He also has good initial quickness off the snap. He could easily pass a sight test. He has great strength and lateral agility to fight through the coverage.

He has good burst out of the breaks to generate separation, especially on slant routes. He has a rare body control for a player built like him. He has great height and leaping ability for the fade route, he knows his way around the field (sidelines and down markers), and can snatch the ball in the air while taking huge hits.

Although Nicks may have questionable deep speed, and might lack the speed to challenge DBs over the top, he capitalizes when defenses spread thin.

I have Hakeem Nicks going to the New York Giants at 29th overall in my new mock draft (http://bleacherreport.com/articles/144514-nfl-mock-draft-stafford-1-overall) because I think Baltimore will pick Darius Hayward-Bey before they pick Nicks. But any team would do well to select him.

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