Saturday, May 02, 2015

Eagles' third-round pick Hicks meets the media

On what his pre-draft interaction was like with the Eagles and what his impression is of Eagles head coach Chip Kelly:
“Pre-draft, I actually met with the Eagles the most out of any team. I met with them at both the Senior Bowl and at the [NFL] Combine. I had a visit and [Eagles inside linebacker] coach [Rick] Minter came out to run the linebacker drills at my Pro Day. I was in contact with the Eagles quite a bit which is pretty crazy because you hear so many stories about, you know, it’s usually the last team you think. I got a great feel for who they are and a great feel for the organization. Again, I’m blessed to be in this situation. Coach Kelly, you know, I actually remember him [when I was] coming out of high school when he was at Oregon. I had a little bit of interaction with him there. He’s an amazing coach, obviously. His track record shows. I’m so excited to learn from him, I’m so excited to be part of this organization and am so blessed that they have faith and confidence in me.”

On what his interaction was like with coach Kelly back in high school:
“We had talked on the phone in high school and that’s as far as it went. Here, in this situation, having meetings, just him sitting down during the pre-draft meetings and interviews. Yeah, mainly that.”

On what he thinks the team liked about him:
“I think, number one, the fact that I’m a smart football player. I can get people lined up on the field and I have a great understanding of football and schemes and what it takes to call a play and check plays. I think also the versatility that I’ve been in. I’ve seen four different linebacker coaches, four different [defensive] coordinators in five years at the University of Texas. I’ve played in 3-4 defenses, 4-3 defenses. I’ve been in spot drops, man drops, zone pressure schemes, man pressure schemes. You name it, I’ve probably learned it. I think the ability to convert and take what I’ve learned and translate it over to this next level is probably the big thing.”

On what led to his suspension prior to the 2012 Alamo Bowl:
“Me and a teammate, we made a mistake. Obviously I took full responsibility and ended up speaking to the team afterwards and I apologized. The suspension, ultimately, was because I missed curfew. Again, I’ve learned from it, I’m moving forward, I’m enjoying this moment, I’m so blessed to be here, that’s far in my past and I’m moving forward.”

On whether the suspension was due just to a curfew violation:
“Yeah, that’s the reason why I was suspended for the game.”

On whether the Eagles said they liked him as a MIKE linebacker:
“Yes, they’ve obviously said knowing the inside linebacker position, for sure. That’s where I feel comfortable. I enjoy taking on that role and taking on the role as a vocal person on the field. So, I think that fits well with who I am as a football player and who I am as a person.”

On what he can contribute on special teams:
“I’m looking to contribute day one. I’ve played every position on special teams. On the field, I’ve made plays on every single special teams. I think that’s a huge part of the game. That’s what has been ingrained in me since day one stepping on the field at the University of Texas and I’m going to carry that over. My mindset on special teams hasn’t changed. I bring hard work, I bring a motor, somebody who is not going to quit on any play and someone who understands the scheme and what they’re trying to do and anticipation for what’s coming. I think all of that in combination with playing physical and playing fast, that’s what special teams is all about.”

On whether his pre-draft visit with the Eagles was any different from some of the other teams:
“It pretty much had the same vibe. Meet with the coaches, meet with the personnel group, meet with just about everybody on the staff, learn a little bit about the defense and see what you can retain. The majority of them were pretty similar.”

On where he is right now health-wise:
“I’m completely, one hundred percent cleared. I feel great. I haven’t had an injury since a year and a half, two years ago when I was dealing with my Achilles [injury]. I made it through this entire season strong, healthy and feeling great. I feel even better now.”

On whether he graduated back in 2013:
“Yeah, I graduated in three and a half years from the University of Texas.”

On whether he is currently pursuing his Master’s degree:
“Yes, in advertising.”

On how far along he is in the program:
“One semester in. I finished my Business Foundation minor in 2014 and now, this past Fall was my first semester in advertising.”

On whether he knew coach Kelly values players who have earned their degree:
“Every team asks. There was nothing specific about that. For me, that’s been a goal, something that I’ve valued since day one. I’ve been taught that that speaks a lot about who you are as a person and what you value and what your character is like. It’s important to me and, obviously, hopefully that’s important, like you said, to the organization.”
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