The New Orleans Saints will be shifting from a 4-3 defensive scheme to a 3-4 scheme but the team has yet to hire a defensive coordinator. Head coach Sean Payton has said that the search for a new defensive coordinator will pick up once the Super Bowl is over.
Payton made a bold statement with the firing of Steve Spagnuolo and vowing that the Saints will switch to a 3-4 alignment. This is a big shift in defensive philosophy, and obviously the Saints will be hiring a defensive coordinator who is familiar with the 3-4 alignment.
With the new defensive scheme some players should fit into the system better than others. One player that could really prosper from the shift in defense is defensive tackle, Akiem Hicks. Hicks was the Saints third-round pick in last year’s NFL draft.
Hicks was a small school gem out of the University of Regina and in limited playing time, recorded 20 tackles and one forced fumble for the Saints in his rookie season. However, with the shift to 3-4, Hicks should see an increase in playing time and could have a breakout year for the Saints.
Hicks said that he is comfortable playing in the 3-4 and that he even played defensive end and nose tackle before. Hicks certainly would fit well at nose tackle given his size. Hicks stands at 6’5” 324 pounds and at nose tackle, he would be able to attack the middle with his large frame.
It is a risky move switching the defense but at this point the Saints’ defense could only get better. Drafting Hicks could turn out to be a great move for the Saints and next season he could potentially flourish as a new weapon for the team.