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Hicks making early impact for Saints defense

His two-sack performance in the Black & Gold Scrimmage caught everyone's attention, but the truth is Saints' coaches and players have had their eyes on 2012 third round pick Akiem Hicks for quite some time.

"He is improving each day and his work ethic is extremely good," said head coach Sean Payton.

Last year Hicks showed flashes of promise. This year he's honing his skills to become a force along the Saints defensive line. He's also as versatile as they come. Hicks has played both the end and tackle positions.

"I really like to play everything and I've always played everything," said Hicks. "And that's exactly what I'm doing right here. I'm playing left end, right end, nose tackle and three-technique."

"Anytime you have versatility, that's a plus, "said defensive line coach Bill Johnson."When you get down to the number that we go active with, people have got to play more than one spot."

That's the best part. He hasn't just been playing both positions, he's playing both positions well against the run and pass. But Hicks is also a realist and despite his impressive camp, he was in no mood to rest on his laurels.

"It's way too early to count your chickens," said Hicks. "You want to be able to get out there and show them what you. I'm in my second season and just excited to be there."

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