Akiem Hicks rated top 3-4 DE by PFF

CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 12: Akiem Hicks
CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 12: Akiem Hicks /

Pro Football Focus gave Akiem Hicks the glowing reward of being the top graded player at his position

We all know what Pro Football Focus is by now. They put individual grades on each play and add the grade up over a season and tell you who was consistently performing at the highest level. It is only one small piece of the puzzle that is determining value, but it is not a bad way to look at things.

The group went over every player at the same position of Akiem Hicks, and determined that Hicks was the overall best player at his particular position. Not a bad honor for a player who was originally snubbed from the Pro Bowl, and did not see an All-Pro nod.

Akiem Hicks blew up in 2016, but his 2017 was the best year of his career. He struggled down the stretch at times, but still finished with 8.5 sacks. Cameron Heyward finished with more sacks and tackles for loss at the same position, but was rated second, just behind Hicks on the PFF scale.

The scale is likely knocking Heyward for some iffy run stuffing, which was exposed in the Steelers playoff loss to the Jaguars, and also was exposed against Jordan Howard and the Chicago Bears.

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Chris Jones of the Kansas City Chiefs, Shelby Harris of the Denver Broncos, and Mike Daniels of the Green Bay Packers round out the top five. Heyward and Hicks are the clear top two of the group, and could be looked at as interchangeable. Harris is a bit of a surprise, but besides that, it seems as though the grades reflect well to the play on the field.