The Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ newly acquired guard, Carl Nicks goes by the name “bigbrickhouse77″ on Twitter. And at 6’5″ 343 pounds, that’s precisely what he is. A two-time all-pro left guard, Nicks is capable of man-handling opposing defenders, taking them completely out of the game. Nicks was a major reason why the Saints had the 6th most rushing yards in the league, as well as PFF’s 2nd rated rushing offense. Furthermore, he played a huge part in giving Drew Brees the time in the pocket he needed to find an open receiver. He will be worth every penny of his 5-year, $47.5 contract that includes $31 million guaranteed. Without a doubt, Josh Freeman and LeGarrette Blount are drooling over this signing, and their fantasy value instantly just went up.
Nicks scored a +16.6 pass blocking rating, good for 2nd best among guards in the league, in addition to a +6.5 run blocking rating that was good for 4th. Needless to say, Nicks played a vital part in getting the saints ranked 7th and 5th in pass blocking and run blocking, respectively. His arrival is essentially guaranteed to improve the Buccaneers’ pedestrian pass and run blocking rankings of 22nd and 17th, respectively. Last season, when the Saints ran to the left side they averaged an impressive 6.6 yards per carry. The Bucs? 3.0 YPC. I wonder which side they’re going to run to more in 2012?
With center Jeff Faine being released after a poor season (-11.4 overall rating), 2011 guard Jeremy Zuttah will be moving from guard to center. Zuttah, the Bucs’ 3rd rated run blocker (11th in NFL), will form a solid tandem with Nicks, but it gets even better. Zuttah is also their 2nd best pass blocker, surpassed only by Davin Joseph – their other guard. Despite a poor run blocking rating of -11.2, Joseph’s play will likely be improved with the presence of Zuttah and Nicks. To put it into perspective, Tampa Bay’s interior OL has pass blocking ratings of +16.6, +3.1, and +2.5, in addition to run blocking ratings of +6.5, +0.9, and -11.2. In short, they replaced 30 year-old Jeff Faine with 26 year-old Carl Nicks, and to display how massive of an upgrade that is here’s a chart:
|Carl Nicks||Jeff Faine|
Like I previously stated, Freeman and Blount are jumping with joy over the signing of Nicks. A previous weakness, Tampa’s interior line instantly turned into a strength and their offense will certainly improve because of it. Freeman, Blount, and any running back that Tampa Bay adds this offseason have just received a fantasy football stock increase, courtesy of Mr. Nicks. They will all learn to love Nicks, and the big brick house that he is.