Nicks is bigger than ever, but is he better?

Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert
DANA POINT, Calif. -- As we work through a brief lull here at the NFL owners' meeting, I thought it was worth noting that a player who could be a target of two NFC North teams showed up decidedly, uh, bigger at his pro day workout this week.

North Carolina receiver Hakeem Nicks weighed in with 226 pounds packed on his 6-foot-1 frame, a full 14 pounds heavier than his number at the scouting combine about a month ago. Nicks figures to be available when Chicago picks at No. 18 and Minnesota at No. 22, and ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. had Nicks going to the Vikings in his most recent mock draft. As Brad Biggs of the Chicago Sun-Times has noted, the Bears have planned to give Nicks a private workout.

NFL.com draft analyst Gil Brandt noted in this report that most scouts were surprised to learn Nicks had gained so much weight. Nicks ran the 40-yard dash in 4.63 seconds at the combine but did not run it again at his pro day.

What to make of these numbers? Whether he's 212 or 226 pounds, Nicks is not going to be a speed burner. Instead, Nicks will be a possession receiver who could play tough in the slot and make catches reserved for tight ends in some offenses. Is a receiver who runs the 40 in the mid-4.6s worth a No. 1 draft choice? You would think he would need great hands and outstanding instincts to compensate.

Does Nicks? That's for the scouts to decide.