Pro Bowl Snub-O-Meter: Akiem Hicks

CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 18: Corey Linsley
CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 18: Corey Linsley /

Was Akiem Hicks a Pro Bowl snub? We examine.

They say holding occurs on every play in the NFL. When the Chicago Bears play, this is certainly true. No, not because of the Bears’ undisciplined offensive line play, but because when Akiem Hicks is on the field, it’s the only way to stop him.

Hicks has been tremendous for the Bears all season long. He’s been a dominant force in the trenches, and has anchored a solid Bears’ defense for much of the season. Around the midpoint portion of the season, Hicks was being discussed as an All-Pro, so he was basically a shoo-in for the Pro Bowl it would seem, but that didn’t end up being the case.

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What was the reason for the omission? Did Hicks play tail off? Were there too many talented players in front of him? Let’s take a look.

Hicks falls into the category of “interior defensive linemen.” The selections were Aaron Donald of the LA Rams, Fletcher Cox of the Philadelphia Eagles and Gerald McCoy of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

That particular position is loaded in the NFC, so that certainly is going to be a strike against Hicks, not to mention that as an interior lineman, Hicks is against 5-tech players, 3-tech players, and nose tackles. With that in mind, there really should be four players on the roster, but with three, there isn’t much wiggle room.

No one can argue against Donald, he’s possibly the best defensive player in the game. Fletcher Cox is probably the best defensive player on the NFC’s best team, so his season is going to be recognized.

Gerald McCoy is having a very solid season, but his numbers are beneath Hicks’ and his team is also struggling. McCoy has done it longer so he also has reputation going for him as well.

The truth about Hicks is that he’s only had one sack in his last six games after having seven sacks in his first eight. There is a lot more to playing defense than sacks, but sacks are flashy and move the needle. Hicks does have more sacks than McCoy and Cox, but fair or not, there are reasons for their selections. Hicks would have needed a stat that pops off the page, and if he had a dozen sacks right now, that would be impossible to ignore.

With Hicks tailing off in the sack department, even if his impact hasn’t faded at all, it was easy for him to be overlooked on a bad football team. With all things being equal, Hicks is having a better year than both McCoy and Cox. Cox gets a pass because of the success of his team, but there is no way to put McCoy in the game over Hicks. Pro Bowl selections are about this year, not past years. Hicks should be in over McCoy.

Pro Bowl Snub-O-Meter- WHITE HOT