Hardy Nickerson Jr.

Texans To Sign Hardy Nickerson

Nick Caserio just won’t stop signing guys to one-year deals. The new Texans GM has found his latest low-risk flyer on the free agent market, this time signing linebacker Hardy Nickerson, a source told Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter link).

Houston has been making a flurry of cheap signings of under the radar players as they rebuild their defense. The strategy seems to be throwing as many darts at the board as possible, and hitting on a couple of guys. It makes a lot of sense on paper. Nickerson signed with the Bengals as an UDFA in 2017, and started nine games for Cincy across his first two seasons.

He fell out of favor when the new coaching staff took over in 2019, then signed with the Vikings for 2020. He appeared in 14 games for Minnesota, starting one and playing about ten percent of the defensive snaps overall. He finished with 14 tackles, two forced fumbles, and an interception. There’s some familiarity here, as Nickerson played for new Texans DC Lovie Smith in college at Illinois.

Bengals Waive DT Pat Sims

Pat Sims‘ tenure with the Bengals has come to an end. Jim Owczarski of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports (via Twitter) that the team has waived the injured defensive tackle. Sims had missed the past two weeks with a calf injury. To take his spot on the roster, the Bengals have promoted linebacker Hardy Nickerson Jr. from the practice squad.

Pat SimsSims, a 2008 third-round pick, spent the first five seasons of his career in Cincinnati before a brief two-year stint with the Raiders. He rejoined the Bengals prior to the 2015 season, with the team valuing his ability to defend against the run. He signed another two-year contract with the organization prior to the 2016 season, and he proceeded to play in all 16 games that season. Sims had appeared in eight games (seven starts) for the Bengals in 2017, compiling 19 tackles. However, Pro Football Focus has been critical of his play this season, ranking him 107th among 112 interior defender candidates. With the veteran now out of the picture, the Bengals will turn to Ryan Glasgow, Andrew Billings, or Josh Tupou to start alongside Geno Atkins.

The son of former Pro Bowler Hardy Nickerson, Nickerson Jr. joined the NFL as an undrafted free agent out of Illinois. The 23-year-old has split the 2017 season between the active roster and the practice squad, compiling a pair of tackles in seven games. He’ll join Carl Lawson, Jordan Evans, and Vincent Rey as the team’s reserve linebackers.

Minor NFL Transactions: 9/28/17

Here are today’s minor moves.

  • To make room on the roster for Vontaze Burfict‘s activation from a three-game suspension, the Bengals waived linebacker Hardy Nickerson Jr. The son of the former All-Pro linebacker, Nickerson signed with the Bengals in May as a UDFA. He made the team out of training camp and played in each of Cincinnati’s first three games this season.
  • The Raiders signed linebacker Boseko Lokombo to their practice squad and released defensive lineman Max Valles from that unit.

Bengals Sign 13 Undrafted Rookies

The Bengals have signed a baker’s dozen of undrafted free agents:

Nickerson is the son of Hardy Nickerson Sr., a former Pro Bowl linebacker and NFL coach. The elder Nickerson currently serves as Illinois’ defensive coordinator and that allowed him to coach his son towards the end of his collegiate career. Nickerson Jr. has been lauded for his work ethic, but some scouts question whether he can stick at the next level.

He may get a legacy grade from some teams based on his tackle production and his bloodlines, but I’m struggling to find consistent tape of him where he looks like an NFL linebacker,” a regional scout for an NFC team told NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein.

The Bengals already have five running backs under contract, including rookie Joe Mixon, so tailbacks Jarveon Williams and Stanley Williams may be facing an uphill battle as they try to make the final cut.