Raiders meet with undersized end

The Oakland Raiders have had success on the defensive side of the ball but they would like to generate more pressure. As a result, they are looking at a defensive end that might be considered a bit undersized – but so was Derrick Burgess.

At 6-foot-1, 255-pounds, there are more than a few scouts that believe UCLA defensive end Justin Hickman could end up a linebacker in a 3-4 defense in the NFL.

Considering his pedigree, the Raiders believe he can play multiple positions, including defensive end – in the 4-3 defensive scheme. And has confirmed that he came to Alameda for a visit.

His father, Donnie, was an offensive lineman from 1974-76 for USC and was selected by the Rams in the fifth round of the 1977 NFL Draft.

And Hickman has proven he can get the job done.

Hickman was a finalist for the Hendricks Award in 2006, as he added first-team All-American honors. He was named the team's MVP, as he tied fellow defensive end Bruce Davis for fourth nationally with 12.5 sacks. He ranked 10th in Division 1-A with 19 stops for losses, adding 42 tackles (30 solos) from his left end position. He also caused two fumbles, deflected two passes and blocked one kick.

In 35 games at UCLA, Hickman started 33 times (17 at left end, 16 at right end). He came up with 95 tackles (60 solos), as he ranks ninth on the school's all-time record list with 19.5 sacks for minus-133 yards. He registered 31 stops for losses of 173 yards and added three quarterback pressures. He caused two fumbles, recovered another and deflected two passes while also blocking one kick. For his entire collegiate career, Hickman collected 155 tackles (94 solos) with 28 sacks and 41 tackles behind the line of scrimmage.

Hickman was timed at 4.75 in the 40-yard dash and the belief is he can add an extra ten pounds while not losing his agility and speed.

That would put him at the same size as Burgess – and the current Raider has shown he can handle the load. Burgess has collected 27 sacks over the last two seasons without a bookend on the other side. Adding Hickman could prove the difference and will allow a talented secondary to make even more plays on the ball.

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