Akiem Hicks has developed into a monster with the Chicago Bears. He was already headed that direction in 2015 with the New England Patriots, but it wasn’t until he arrived in 2016 that the man became a proper monster. He dominated the past two seasons and though he has just three sacks so far this year, his presence is impossible to ignore for offensive linemen at this point.

Defensive line coach Jay Rodgers has been present for his rise to prominence. He’s heard the whispers and the straight up shouts from those who have had to block Hicks. It’s a chore to put it mildly. In fact, he uncorked a couple of tremendous examples describing exactly what the experience can be like.

“The guy is a dancing bear out there,” Rodgers said. “Anytime you get a guy who can move like he can at his size (it’s tough for opponents), and you all have seen the many impactful plays he has made with just his brute strength. He’s a hard guy to block. I think I heard on TV, it’s like blocking a 300-pound bar of soap. It’s hard.”

Now try to imagine that for just a second. Imagine a 300-lbs bar of Lever 2000 that is properly lathered up with water and then gets thrown at you. Not only would it be rough just trying to hold up its considerable weight. There’s also the fact that it’s beyond slippery and impossible to grab. That’s basically what blocking Hicks is like. Wow.

Akiem Hicks has truly arrived as a complete football player

Hicks showcased his prowess as a pass rusher during the past two seasons with 15.5 sacks. Yet he might be having a better all-around year in 2018 despite being on pace for fewer sacks. Why? His run defense has become truly exceptional. He has 23 tackles this season and 22 of them have resulted in no gain or a loss by the opposing offense. That’s the most by far of any Bears defensive lineman.

If the defense continues to excel and the team keeps winning, the odds are favorable that Hicks will reach the first Pro Bowl of his career. Truth be told he should’ve gone last season but losing teams never catch those kind of breaks. This should be his moment. Khalil Mack and Kyle Fuller deserve a ton of love, but their success can be tied directly to his. That’s how team defense works. He’s fast becoming one of the best free agent signings the organization has ever made.