Akiem Hicks is playing at All-Pro level

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 22: Akiem Hicks
CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 22: Akiem Hicks /

There is no doubt about it. Akiem Hicks is playing at an elite level

The Chicago Bears defense has been getting a lot of credit over the past two wins,  and rightfully so. While the names of Adrian Amos, Eddie Jackson, and Kyle Fuller have emerged this year, it still comes back to the play of Akiem Hicks, giving these players opportunities. Hicks has been the best player on the Bears team this season and is playing at an All-Pro level.

This season, only six players have more sacks and tackles for loss combined. Those players are Chandler Jones, Melvin Ingram, Everson Griffen, Demarcus Lawrence, Calais Campbell, Justin Houston and Hicks is tied with Cam Wake behind them.

What is important to note is that every player in this tier with him plays defensive end in a 4-3, while he plays defensive end in a 3-4 defense. The way that All-Pro voting is broken down is that two edge players and two interior players get the nod. All of these players will be candidates on the edge, but only Calais Campbell will play enough inside to get that consideration next to Hicks. Sure, a name like Aaron Donald will emerge in the discussion, but as of right now Akiem Hicks is one of the leading candidates to be a first team All-Pro performer.

Hicks is winning in every single way possible. He is defending the run, pushing pockets, rushing the passer and he is even winning in these different areas with a variety of skills.


Hand usage amongst defensive lineman is one of the most underrated aspects of the position. Keeping yourself free from being grasped by the offensive line, and being able to use your upper body to push and create space all starts with winning hand to hand to battles in the trenches. In Week One, we see Hicks show off how important this aspect is as he turns in his second sack of the season. Below, Hicks swipes away the hands the of guard Wes Schweitzer to free himself space and then uses a swim move to shake free of the lineman for a clear path to the quarterback.


On top of the hands, Hicks has shown an impressive burst and an ability to quickly get into the backfield. Below, Hicks destroys rookie guard Jermaine Eluemunor off of the ball and gets an angle to the quarterback on him. The young guard has no chance to catch up to that jump and Hicks bursts ahead for an easy sack.


When you think of Hicks, speed and hand usage are not the first two things that come to mind. More than anything, Hicks wins with power and strength. The forced incompletions and muddy pockets that he creates are countless.

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Below, he earns himself a sack on pure strength. With just one arm, he pushed center Pat Eflien pack into quarterback Sam Bradford for another sack. This is pure domination at its highest form.

Run Defense

The power of Hicks can be exemplified with what he does in the run game. Hicks, with his partner in crime Eddie Goldman, have made this a formidable front line that some of the best rushing attacks in the NFL have struggled against. Below, we see Hicks at his best, making a clean release, getting into the backfield with ease and forcing a four-yard loss on first down.

Hicks has the tape to back up the numbers. He has the value of a 3-4 football team that has an offense that nowhere resembles that record. We have a long way to go, but with mid-season awards coming up, it will be interesting to see which national media members really are watching the whole league when they discuss the best interior players in the NFL.