Kyle Hicks was just one of 33 running backs to compete at the NFL Combine this past weekend, as he tried to raise his profile ahead of April’s NFL Draft. Joseph Noteboom, the only other Horned Frog in Indy, was one of 47 players classified as offensive linemen to go through drills.
Hicks, who was not expected to be a drafted player going into the Combine, performed averagely once there, and it is widely considered that he will be a priority undrafted free agent, brought to a team as a practice squad/third down back with an intriguing future as a pass-catcher out of the backfield. Noteboom, who checks off a lot of boxes as far as size and potentially, likely raised his profile, and is now a potential third round pick.
Thanks to Reddit, we are able to compare how these two players stack up to the competition, and to see just when they might hear there named called, if at all.
Kyle Hicks (5’10”, 204 pounds)
Hicks received a draft grade of 4.9, good for 27th best among the invited prospects. Saquon Barkely, of Penn State, had the highest grade at 7.45, followed by LSU’s Derrius Guice (6.41) and USC’s Ronald Jones (6.28). Hick’s 40 time of 4.63 was decidedly average, though he was faster than Jones, Texas’ Chris Warren, and WVU’s Justin Crawford. Kyle showcased his explosiveness with a 36.5 vertical and 122 broad jump, two of the better results for his position group. Barkley is a freak with a 41” vert, while Georgia’s Nick Chubb and Northwestern’s Justin Jackson both showed out at 38.5”.
The scouting report on Hicks is that he is quick and nimble on his feet, but doesn’t show the vision and patience of an elite back. At a somewhat slight 204 pounds, he may not be the kind of back that breaks tackles, and doesn’t have the elite speed to run away from would-be defenders. But watch Kyle on film at TCU, even two seasons ago when their were offensive line and QB issues, and it’s clear that this kid can play in the league.
Joseph Noteboom (6’5”, 309 pounds)
Joe Noteboom did himself just about as many favors in Indy as any player, rocketing himself up the draftboards with an impressive all-around performance. Big Joe was one of just four offensive linemen to run a sub-5 second 40, clocking in at 4.96 in the dash. He graded out to a 5.62 overall, 16th best mark, but was showed off his speed, strength (27 reps on the bench, sixth best mark of the position group), and agility (top ten marks in both the shuttle and three cone drills).
Noteboom is being dinged in analysis for the stupid reason of playing too much football... he is a classic case of having so much film (hasn’t missed a game since 2014), that he is being picked apart. One NFL consultant said “ I couldn’t find that one thing that I really loved about him,” which is scout-speak for ‘he does a lot of things well, but nothing extraordinarily well, but frankly, he has played too much so let’s overanalyze the crap out of him’. He is athletic for his position, has great size with plenty of room to add quality bulk, and while TCU fans will certainly agree with the inconsistency claims, this is a kid who was a three-time Academic All-American, so there’s reason to believe that will change when he is focused solely on football. His flashes of NFL-starter type skill will only increase with time.
Noteboom has a couple of solid comps from the 2017 OT class, including his former teammate, Aviante Collins. Collins graded out at 5.39, with a 4.81 40 and 34 reps on the bench, before going undrafted (but becoming a key player for the Minnesota Vikings as an UDFA). Fourth rounder Zach Banner (5.72), fifth rounder Roderick Johnson (5.62), and Will Holden (5.53) all grade out comparatively in the class of 2017.
Ultimately, the NFL Draft is a bunch of people trying not to do something different, and rarely do they take chances. Hicks will need a huge Pro Day in Fort Worth to try and sneak into the late rounds, but he certainly should be in an NFL camp. I expect Noteboom to be a late third, early fourth, round pick, that could take a similar career path to current NFL Champion Halapoulivaati Vaitai.