Darrius Heyward-Bey or Hakeem Nicks: Who should the Tennessee Titans like the most?

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In case you missed it, an interesting tidbit of news emerged from an otherwise typical boring offseason day. At the NFL Combine, the Tennessee Titans took a few moments to interview two potential first-round wide receivers: Maryland’s Darrius Heyward-Bey and North Carolina’s Hakeem Nicks.

Heyward-Bey and Nicks have a few things in common. Both are gifted players entering the draft after their junior seasons. Bey and Nicks also played their college ball at ACC schools. Last but not least, each talented wide out could be on the radar of a Titan team that has the #30 pick in the first round of April’s draft.

Of course, we all know that the likelihood of the Titans selecting a WR in the first round is extremely low. However, if the apocalypse occurs with a receiver being drafted at #30, Hakeem Nicks is the guy I’d like to hear being announced as the team’s choice.   

The Nicks vs. Heyward-Bey battle is a vivid example of the typical dilemma faced by NFL talent evaluators. Despite not possessing top-of-the-line foot speed, Nicks is a guy who produces where it matters the most: on the football field. On the other hand, Heyward-Bey’s strengths are his measurables: good size and terrific wheels.

Personally, I like a guy who produces on the gridiron. Excellent forty-times are great (Chris Johnson immediately comes to mind), but the ability of a guy to get it done between the hashmarks is what stands out to me. Jerry Rice didn’t have the greatest forty-time, but he more than compensated for his lack of straight-line-speed with a lethal combination of precise route-running and football quickness.  

During his junior year, Nicks snagged an impressive 68 balls to the tune of 1,222 yards and 12 touchdowns. In a remarkable performance, Hakeem’s 8 catches for 217 yards and 3 scores against West Virginia was one of the highlights of last year’s bowl season.

He isn’t going to blow by you, but what Nicks is able to do successfully is use a combination of athleticism and sticky hands to best opposing defenders. He’s a playmaker, a guy who is going to make the routine grabs as well as some of the more difficult ones.

Heyward-Bey is more along the lines of your typical draft diamond in the rough. His excellent speed will translate into a great forty-yard dash time at the combine, which will inevitably lead to a rapid increase of his draft stock.

I like Bey’s measurables but if the Tennessee Titans do the unexpected and draft a receiver in the first round, here’s to hoping they go with the playmaking ability and production of Hakeem Nicks instead of the raw potential of Darrius Heyward-Bey.  

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7 Responses to “Darrius Heyward-Bey or Hakeem Nicks: Who should the Tennessee Titans like the most?”

  1. Will Says:

    Drexel, I wholeheartedly agree with your evaluation, but I think the Titans would choose Heyward-Bey. He fits the profile of what the Titans like in a receiver … he’s big and he’s a good run blocker. His speed is a bonus.
    Hicks does look like a special player, though, and I’m sure Heimerdinger would find multiple ways to get him the football.

  2. Andrew K Says:

    I could not agree with you more Drexel, IMO DHB is just way too risky of a pick and Nicks is the better pick. Also, this class of WR is supposed to be very deep and I would not be disappointed if thee Titans go after guys like Kenny Britt, Juaquin Iglesias, or Ramses Barden as I believe all 3 of these other guys could be very good within the Titans system.

  3. Brad Says:

    Drexel I usually agree with you, but I don’t think that Nicks even comes close to Heyward-Bey. He is a prototype WR Tall, Big, and Fast. Also I dont think either of these recievers will go in the first round. I would say there are only two WR guaranteed to go in the first (Crabtree and Maclin). However, Nicks could fall to us in the second were he would be an excellent pick. But if wed do draft a reciever in the first I hope Maclin falls to us (I know it won’t happen but we can dream) after that I would say Harvin then Heyward-Bey.

  4. Johnathan Says:

    Sorry Brad, but with DHB running a 4.3 flat today at the combine, you can almost guarantee that he will be a first rounder and Nicks likely will be as well. Maclin had a slight injury issue while running drills, though. Combine that with Crabtree’s injury and you are probably going to see a little bit of slippage in the WR’s in the draft. That said, there will probably 4-5 WR’s taken in the first.
    Not a chance Nicks lasts until the Titans pick in the second haha. I would love it, but there is a 0% chance of that happening…

  5. Will Says:

    4.3 40 … Combine Superstar … Heyward-Bey looks like a Titan.

  6. Drexel Perry Says:

    Brad,
    Heyward-Bey has a lot of physical skills. I guess I’m a little more impressed with Hakeem’s playmaking ability and great hands.
    He isn’t exactly a roadrunner, but Nicks’ 4.49 forty yard dash at the combine is anything but tortoise-like.
    As always, thanks for chiming in guys. Good discussion with some great points on both sides.

  7. Ben Says:

    Just throwing it out there…. If Brandon Tate was THE WR in UNC before his injury then why all of a sudden is he not even close to being talk about? Nicks became pretty much the only WR on UNC of concern. If Tate does not get injured ill bet that Nicks is not talked about and Tate would be where Nicks is right now.

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