Getting to Know: Carl Nicks

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via www.journalstar.com


In our final installment of the series this year, we introduce you to OT Carl Nicks. With their second selection of the fifth round the Saints used it to scoop up the lineman from Nebraska.

Nicks has a great combination of size, strength, quickness and motor. He is very well built for his position and is NFL ready in that respect. Nicks is very quick off the line, works very hard and plays with a non-stop motor and a mean streak. He has played both tackle and guard, so he is somewhat versatile though he only switched to LT in his senior season, playing mostly RT in his career.

Where he is lacking, however, is in his technique. Nicks is very unpolished. His handwork and footwork all leave something to be desired and it will take some time before he can get to that next level. Also on the negative side is Nicks' character. This is another situation of a players' character hurting their draft stock. Originally slated to be a possible second round pick, he slipped to the fifth round because of recent off-field troubles.

Nicks, a 6-foot-5, 341-pound lineman who could play either right tackle or guard in the NFL, was originally rated as a second- or third-round draft prospect. But he set himself back when he was arrested in March during a party at a friend's house.

He was one of four current or former Nebraska players cited for being an inmate of a disorderly house, and he was thrown into jail after adding a citation for failure to disperse. Charges were later dismissed.

New Nebraska Coach Bo Pelini, however, punished Nicks by banning him from the school's pro day, which was obviously a costly punishment for a draft prospect. It wasn't the first incident for Nicks, who was benched for the first quarter of one game as a senior for undisclosed disciplinary reasons. The 25-year-old also had some academic issues that forced him to bounce around from New Mexico State to Hartnell Junior College to Nebraska.

When asked if he thinks the character issue hurt his draft stock, Nicks quickly replied, "It murdered it." But he said he was grateful the Saints offered him an opportunity.

"Everything happens for a reason. I got drafted by a great team," Nicks said. "I guarantee nothing like that will ever happen again." - Times-Pic

However, Nicks recently ran afoul of the law when police busted a party in Lincoln and he was banned from participating in Nebraska's Pro Day, which says a lot, since Maurice Purify, who has had multiple criminal issues in the past, was still allowed to participate despite being one of the other players who got in trouble at the party. - FF Toolbox

I don't know what went on behind the scenes when Nicks got in trouble, but getting put in jail for not leaving a party seems a bit much. He has bounced around between New Mexico St., Hartnell CC, and Nebraska but hopefully some stability and the responsibility of being married and having a three year old daughter will mature him.

"We didn't feel in his case that it was as much of real bad character as it was maybe some maturity issues that we were willing to look at and go with," said Payton, who insisted that Nicks wasn't getting a free pass. "He understands that he's coming here to an environment where we have little tolerance."

This is yet another one of those upside deals. The best word to describe Nicks is raw. But it seems this kid can really be a factor with the right coaching. If the Saints can make this happen, Nicks will be a justifiable steal in this years draft, but this will take some time and I wouldn't expect to see him playing much this season.

Player Bio

Name School Position Hometown DOB Ht. Wt. 40-Yard Bench Vertical Broad Jump
Carl Nicks Nebraska OT Salinas, CA 3/5/83 6'5" 343 5.12 31 25 9.01

 

For even more detailed scouting reports and info on Nicks, check out New Era Scouting , FF Toolbox and the New Orleans Saints official website.

Here is the scouting report, once again, from NFL.com , NFL Draft Countdown and ESPN Insider , respectively.

The Good...

Positives: Massive.... Despite his weight, Nicks doesn't have a sloppy build, but instead his weight is distributed throughout his body.... Long arms and big hands.... Surprising quickness off the snap.... Explosive strength evident both in his pass and run blocking. ... Devastating upper body strength and has the big hands and long arms to latch onto the defender and control him. ... Good quickness for the reach block and can turn and seal the edge. ... Surprising quickness to get to the second level. ... Good balance in his kick-slide. ... Uses his hands well to control the defender and keeps his feet moving to remain squarely in front of the pass rusher. ... Remains on the balls of his feet and is rarely out of position.

Strengths:
Has outstanding size and a huge frame...A terrific athlete with good quickness...Is very strong...Physical and aggressive...Gets a nice push in the run game...Light on his feet...Mobile and will get to the second level...Versatile...Still has major upside.

Strengths: A massive ROT prospect with a thick build, long arms (34.6 inches) and big hands (10 inches). Displays adequate initial quickness when firing out of his stance as a run blocker. Can engulf smaller defenders at the point of attack in the run game. Works to finish his blocks and displays a mean streak at times. Will sustain his blocks when his hand-placement is sound. Can anchor versus the bull rush when he plays with leverage. Displays a quick set in pass pro for an OT his size. Also has very good upper body strength to jar defenders with his initial punch. Lots of upside to work with as a developmental project.

The Bad...

Negatives: Has only played left tackle one season, and despite his success there in 2007 there are concerns Nicks lacks the foot quickness to handle the NFL's speed rushers. ... Only one season as a starter at the D-I level. ... Surprising agility to get to the second level, but struggles to engage second-level defenders. ... Can dominate pass rushers when he gets his hands on them, but struggles to re-engage if his initial hand punch misses. ... Potential for weight to get out of control has to be a concern.

Weaknesses:
Doesn't have a ton of experience...Very raw and has a ways to go when it comes to technique...Has to play with better leverage...Shaky footwork & hand use...Not yet a finished product and he'll need to be developed...Has a questionable motor.

Weaknesses: Lacks ideal athletic ability. Is quick on a straight line but struggles to move laterally. Will have trouble getting back inside in pass pro. Does not redirect quickly enough at times. Struggles to hit the moving target in space. Needs to play with more consistent leverage. When he comes out of stance too high he is vulnerable versus powerful bull rush. No excuse for him getting walked back into his own QB like he did versus Wake Forest DE Jeremy Thompson. His footwork and hand placement need a lot of polishing.

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