Fifth Round - 29th Pick - #164 Overall
Carl Nicks, offensive lineman, Nebraska
6'5, 330 pounds
Huge and gifted, Nicks dominated college football at left tackle in his one season of starting. A former defensive tackle, Nicks has it all at left tackle from a physical standpoint - huge arms, fast feet, outstanding strength, prototypical size. He's mature, already 25 years old, married with a kid, and seemed to enjoy his time annihilating opponents last year. He started two games on the right side and eleven on the left side over two seasons, and gave up one sack. He's regarded as one of the best prospect run blockers in the draft.
So why is he available in the fifth round? Nicks is very raw and got by for the Cornhuskers on raw physical prowess. He made basic mistakes in pass defensive but could recover at the college level. Despite his maturity, he shows inconsistent poise, undisciplined technique and frustrating effort. Projects to right tackle in the pros.
Offseason problems, including a disorderly conduct arrest last month, sent his stock plummeting. He wasn't even allowed to work out at the Nebraska pro day.
Alternatives: Vanderbilt ILB Jonathan Goff went next. Texas S Michael Griffin, Alabama S Simeon Castille, Boston College S Jamie Silva, Kentucky OLB Wesley Woodyard, Georgia OLB Marcus Howard, were still on the board. The Saints have drafted three linemen so far, though Nicks is the first offensive player.
Impact on Saints: For offensive line coaches Doug Marrone and John Morton have yet another raw prospect to form and mold this offseason, joining guys like Jermon Bushrod, Andy Alleman and Zach Strief, not to mention brilliant success story Jahri Evans. We're not sure if Nicks will be able to stick at tackle.