University of Regina
Hicks enrolled at Sacramento City College in 2007 out of high school. He saw action in 10 games as a true freshman in 2007, recording 32 tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss, 3.0 sacks, one interception, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery. Hicks started nine games in 2008 as a sophomore, finishing with 33 tackles, 7.0 tackles for loss and one pass break-up. After the 2008 season, he was considered one of the top JUCO recruits, choosing LSU over Oregon, Arizona and Tennessee. However, he never played for the Tigers and sat out the 2009 season because of some recruiting controversy, choosing instead to transfer to Regina (Canada). Hicks started all nine games in 2010 as a junior (9 gp/9st), recording 24 tackles, 5.0 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, one pass break-up and two forced fumbles, earning Canada West All-Star honors. He started all eight games in 2011 as a senior (8 gp/8 st), finishing with a team-best 42 tackles, 8.0 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks, three pass break-ups and two forced fumbles, earning First Team All-Conference honors. Hicks was one of the prized-recruits in the 2009 class out of the JUCO ranks, but was forced to head North to play in Canada because of some recruiting issues by LSU?s coaching staff. He carries some effort and work ethic questions and there are concerns about whether or not he will put in the time to maximize his ability. Hicks is a mammoth player with light feet and impressive length, but is very raw with limited playing experience ? a mid-to-late round draft pick who needs extensive work, but the potential is tough to ignore as he grades as one of the better developmental linemen in this class.
As the son of Wisconsin Hall of Famer and New York Jets Pro Bowl wide receiver Al Toon, Nick has always endured the obvious comparison. In that regard, so far, so good. Nick surpassed his father's receiving yardage mark at Wisconsin (2,103 from 1982-85) with 171 catches for 2,447 yards, although his 18 touchdowns are one short of his father's 19. In the 1985 draft, Al Toon was selected tenth overall, ahead of Jerry Rice, but his career was shortened by nine concussions and he retired at 29 years old. Nick is a physical player and excellent route runner, similar to his father. But Nick is expected to wait until the late second or third round to hear his namecalled. He has had his share of injuries the last two seasons. He missed three games in 2010 due to turf toe and sat out the Ohio State game with a thigh injury. Toon underwent surgery on his left foot twice, including once in midseason last year. At his pro day in early March, Toon performed well with a 40-yard time of 4.43 seconds and a vertical jump of 39 inches.
Biography: Two-year starter awarded all-conference honors as a senior with 58 tackles, 4 interceptions, and 5 pass breakups. Junior numbers included 31/1/7. Lined up at cornerback and safety for Samford.
Positives: Versatile defensive back with a developing game. Instinctive, quick to diagnose the action and plays a physical game. Explodes up the field, works hard to get through blocks and is very active defending the run and screen passes. Aggressively lays his shoulders into opponents and wraps up when tackling. Solid open-field tackler. Plays heads-up football, plays with good body control and displays tremendous quickness in his game. Works well with safeties, gets a jump on the ball and displays timing defending the pass. Possesses good hands for interceptions. Outstanding special teams player who stands out on coverage units.
Negatives: Stiff moving in reverse and prefers to side shuffle. Overmatched by larger receivers. Loses a half step transitioning to position himself against pass catchers to make plays against the ball.
Analysis: White has displayed terrific development in his game the past three years and is a talented defensive back who is best facing the action. He offers possibilities as a zone safety or cornerback in man off coverage and should stand out on special teams in the NFL.
Syracuse, NY -- It was all getting to be too much for Andrew Tiller
The former Syracuse University guard was in Philadelphia today, at a barbeque with about 30 family members and friends at the home of his mother, Sharon Tiller.
As the third-day of ESPN's telecast of the 2012 NFL Draft began to drag into late afternoon, and through the fifth round, Tiller said he couldn’t take it anymore.
“After a while I was getting a little frustrated and I just turned it off,” said the All-Big East player who was a redshirt senior in 2011. “I was just chilling with the family – playing spades, playing dominoes.”
Then around 4 p.m. his cell phone rang, and the New Orleans Saints were on the other end.
“I picked up and they were like ‘Are you ready?’ and I was like, ‘Yes I am.’”
With that, Tiller became the second Orange player taken in this year’s draft. Tiller was the ninth pick in the sixth round, the 179th overall.
He joins defensive end Chandler Jones, who was taken in Thursday night’s opening round as the only SU players selected.
“I was in such a shock,” the 23-year-old Long Island native said. “I’m still on a natural high right now. I’m waiting to come down.”
Tiller was the 17th guard selected in the draft. He was the fourth player selected by the Saints, the team SU head coach Doug Marrone worked for as offensive coordinator before taking over the Orange program in 2009.
It was a long wait after Jones went to the Patriots – some 42 hours and 158 picks – before another SU player heard his name called. And the player who broke the streak wasn't the one many thought it would be.
The 6-foot-5, 328-pound two-year starter was one of four SU players invited to the NFL Scouting Combine in February, along with Jones, tight end Nick Provo and safety Phillip Thomas.
While Jones was clearly SU’s top prospect, many draft handicappers thought Provo or Thomas would more likely be taken. Thomas, Provo and Tiller all were labeled as later-round choices or free agents.
Tiller said he felt for his teammates. Neither Thomas nor Provo was among the 253 players selected as the seventh round ended around 7:20 p.m.
“It’s so stressful,” he said. “Very stressful and nerve-wracking.”
Provo and Thomas, along with other former Orange players such as All-Big East running back Antwon Bailey, will be able to sign with any of the 32 NFL teams as free agents.
Tiller started 25 straight games at guard for the Orange in 2010 and 2011. He blocked for 1,000-yard rushers Delone Carter and Bailey the past two seasons. He came to SU in 2009 after a year at Nassau Community College.
A player who once tipped the scales at more than 400 pounds, Tiller lost some 75 pounds before the 2010 season to get himself in shape for a starting spot. Tiller said it was one of the hardest things he’s ever done.
“All that work wasn’t for nothing,” he said. “It finally paid off. I’m living my dream right now.”
Tiller said he talked to the Saints at the Combine in mid-February, but the only teams he had private workouts with were the Giants, Jets and Atlanta Falcons.
“So I was surprised a little bit, but not that surprised,” he said of his selection by the Saints.
Tiller said his only visit to New Orleans was last October for a game against Tulane. He’ll report to the Saints in about two weeks.
“That’s my favorite team (now). I can’t wait to get down there,” he said. “Nice weather, nice food.”
OverviewJones' time at Nebraska was marred by injuries and he has serious durability concerns moving forward. He has the frame to draw interest but injury history and the bad weight he carries, with average strength, he's maintaining a draftable grade only because of his adequate feet and strength to go with his length.
AnalysisPositives: Passes the eye test -- impressive frame, thick lower half and overall length with 34-inch arms and 10 1/4-inch hands. Has the athleticism and foot quickness to do the job in a short area. Has added 30 pounds of bulk at Nebraska. Improved fundamentals. Very good toughness. Negatives: Limited the past three seasons by injuries (ankle, back) and wasn't an every-down player in 2011. Carries sloppy weight and isn't an elite athlete. Poor balance with a bad habit of lunging, bending at the waist and spending too much time on the ground. Not overly physical. Raw and has missed significant playing time.