Saints look to rookie DT Hicks for spark

Dan Parr
September 22, 2012
Grantham withdraws from consideration for Saints' DC job

One player the Saints will be watching closely in the coming weeks is rookie DT Akiem Hicks. The third-round pick made his debut in Week Two after he didn't dress in the season opener. He played 20 snaps (a little less than a third of the total defensive snaps) and recorded a QB hit in New Orleans’ loss to the Panthers.

We hear the coaching staff was impressed with the flashes he showed.

“Akiem Hicks is a powerful, young player,” interim head coach Aaron Kromer said. “Any young player in the National Football League is raw, and his techniques aren’t perfect, but that guy has the power and ability to play right now.”

The Saints are desperate for a spark on a defense that struggled mightily against QBs Robert Griffin III and Cam Newton in the first two weeks of the season. If he continues to flash, we're told increased playing time for Hicks will likely come at the expense of starting DT Sedrick Ellis, who has been credited with only four QB hits and a half sack in his last 22 games, including the playoffs, dating back to Week 16 of the 2010 season.