Will Hickman bolt to the NFL?

Ready for prime time ; Hickman might have what it takes to succeed in the NFL

The Toronto Sun
FRANK ZICARELLI, TORONTO SUN

HAMILTON-- Whether Justin Hickman finds the right opportunity in the NFL and finds himself on an opening-day roster, only time will tell.
But his time in the Hammer has officially come to an end, replaced by the unofficial season of speculating where Hickman ends up playing next season.
In the CFL, there's no better defensive end than Hickman, especially when it comes to pressuring the quarterback and being a disruptive presence in the backfield.
Hickman goes about his business and doesn't seek the spotlight.
But he'll be the focus this off-season, a free agent who simply must capitalize on his 13-sack season, which tied Willis for the league lead.
"If it's the right shot,'' Hickman said of pursuing the NFL. "I'm not going to take any shot."
Ticat teammate and fellow defensive end Stevie Baggs says Hickman has the best hands in the business when it comes to rushing the passer.
"When you go from the 12-man game (CFL) and go back to the 11-man (NFL) g ame, b e i n g closer to the line of scrimmage helps. It's an advantage,'' Baggs said in referring to the one yard off the line of scrimmage that makes, among other things, CFL football different than the NFL.
There's always a chance the Ticats may offer Hickman a deal he can't refuse, but it's in his best interest to audition for the NFL and see if the right opportunity comes along.
"He should take advantage,'' Baggs said of Hickman looking south. "When you grow up in the States, the dream is to play at the highest level. He deserves a shot."
Baggs took his shot after leading the CFL in sacks in 2009 with Saskatchewan.
"When I led the league in '09, I wasn't back,'' said Baggs. "Traditionally, what happens when you have a great season up here, they (NFL) come calling after you.
"I expect him to get a shot at least."
For his part, Hickman plans to return to his off-season home in Arizona, do some home repairs, chill and then begin working out.
"I'm at the point in my career where I'm getting better,'' said Hickman, who recorded an interception in Sunday's loss to Winnipeg in the East final.
"I'm not saying I'm at my peak yet, but I'm starting to get there."
Garrett McIntyre parlayed two solid seasons in the Hammer into a job with the New York Jets this past off-season. Last Thursday, he started for the Jets in New York's loss to Denver.
McIntyre had a great motor, but Hickman can flat-out get to the quarterback.
But it'll all come down to opportunity.
When asked about a return to the CFL, Hickman spoke of loyalty and how he'll allow the Ticats the first crack to bring him back.
"This is the place that gave me my first opportunity,'' he added. "I believe in loyalty."
Another Justin, kicker/ punter Justin Medlock is also expected to look south.
Like Hickman, Medlock had too good of a year not to explore all options.

Somehow I don't see Hickman playing linebacker in the NFL. He is too small for defensive end. The reason McIntyre made the Jets is his speed and tenacity. He lines up at right outside linebacker but also rushes the passer from the end of the line. McIntyre also plays special teams because of his speed. I don't see Hickman as an NFL special teamer but Hay I'm no doctor and my legal briefs are boxers. :lol:

Pat Lynch(the old guy)

Hickman may bolt to the NFL but his stay may be very brief like hundreds of others who will be bolting with him.

Hickman lead the league in sacks, but his pass coverage was suspect.
How a guy cannot hear someone who is shouting at them is beyond me.
Shout louder?

Hickman will not make an NFL roster.

Next?

The NFL pays more and is seen as a far superior league to the CFL. When players deliver in the CFL it is only right that they expect to take a shot at the NFL. Sadly, only a few make an impact and remain. Sadly, because of the timing of training camps and the like, when a player takes a shot at the NFL he misses a large portion of the CFL schedule.

Good luck to him and if the NFL doesn't make the right offer then I hope he's back in black & gold for our GC run next year.

Why should a DE be dropped back in pass coverage? To me a pass rusher who drops back in pass coverage is an oxymoron.

This was a big reason why Baggs had such a bad year.

These guys are pass rushers. Why drop them in coverage?

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