The team’s 3-9 record deprives scouts of seeing Sean Hickey play during the bowl season, but there was little that the left tackle could do about the team’s record that was the result of injuries wreaking havoc in the offensive backfield. He was heavily relied upon by that feeble offense, as he recorded ten touchdown-resulting blocks (team ran for 12 scores) and cleared the way for 1,124 of the 1,742 yards generated by the running corps.
Hickey anchored a line that has blocked for four different rushers who have combined for five 100-yard rushing games, boasting 39 consecutive starting assignments to close out his career. One of the strongest athletes in this draft class, he holds the school record by bench pressing 225 pounds 41 times (recorded 35 at the 2015 NFL Scouting Combine) and is the team’s fastest offensive lineman in ten years, timing at 5.09 seconds in the 40-yard dash.
Hickey has good foot quickness and flexibility, doing a nice job of moving in the open. He is very effective adjusting on linebackers in the second level and has above average change of direction agility. He might get a bit straight-legged at times, but is rarely late off the snap. He knows how to use his initial burst to position and leverage, and also generates quickness working in space when pulling.
The thing you see on film is Hickey’s ability on the backside to scoop and cut off. He looks sharp when uncoiling after the snap and is hardly ever in a position of disadvantage. He is very effective at reaching and sealing seven-techs and has the kick slide to prevent the pass rushers from beating him off the edge.
The Orange blocker has very good range and mobility, along with the quick feet and strong anchor needed to sit into his blocks. He’s an experienced and intelligent player who plays with above average body control and balance, evident by the ease he gets to the second level, doing so with proper pad level.
Still, his obvious deficiency as an offensive tackle is his short arms, and he also lacks ideal offensive tackle size. He does possess a lot of core strength, and opponents find it nearly impossible to bull rush him, but even with his speed, he’s not a quick-twitch athlete who can consistently respond well to sudden moves, more so due to inconsistent hand usage which became more evident as the 2014 season progressed.
It was hard to judge his overall pass protection skills in 2014 due to serious problems the team had at quarterback, but generally he gets into sets quickly, showing good patience and balance in those sets. He flashes a strong punch and can quickly reset hands. Once he is able to latch on, he can lock out with his arms, along with being nimble with his shuffle-&-mirror to keep defenders neutralized.
Hickey demonstrates a good anchor and can sink hips to recover when initially rocked back by speed-to-power moves. He will usually get into trouble it is when he over sets or lunges, which is all correctable at the next level. Has the feet and awareness to play right tackle, but in NFL his short arms are a significant concern and he has to realize that his best fit in NFL is likely inside at guard.
As a run blocker, Hickey will have to continue adding bulk (came to the program at 270 and is currently 309), but he has very impressive strength and an above average in-line power base that allows him to generate movement and steer defenders when engaged to open up running lanes. He is a natural knee bender who shows valid balance to stay engaged with blocks.
His pad level will rise up on occasion which can hinder his leverage, but Hickey displays above-average lateral agility to reach defenders from the backside or seal the edge as a front-side drive blocker.
Sean Hickey NFL Scouting Combine measurable
32 3/4-inch arm length
10 1/2-inch hands
Dave-Te’ Thomas is a sports writer, talent evaluator and scouting personnel consultant for a majority of teams in the National Football League. Thomas runs a scouting information service called NFL Scouting Services and produces THE NFL Draft Report, a publication provided by league headquarters to the media in preparation for the NFL Draft.
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