Two weeks into his rookie season, Hicks could be close to his fellow inside linebacker for the foreseeable future.
With inside linebackers Mychal Kendricks (hamstring) and Kiko Alonso (knee) likely out for Sunday's game against the New York Jets, Hicks and Ryans are the likely starters in coordinator Billy Davis' 3-4 scheme.
''I've tried to latch onto (Ryans),'' Hicks said. ''First thing I was told was make sure you get to close to DeMeco. It was good advice. ... He's been a great mentor for me.''
When he came out of college from Texas, scouts believed Hicks was similar to Ryans: cerebral like a coach on the field and built similarly in height and weight.
The Eagles took Hicks in the third round even though they already had Alonso, Kendricks and Ryans.
''I had heard the comparisons,'' Ryans said. ''Then when I saw him play I noticed it even more. He is like me. There are times I'm watching film and see him out there and I'm like `is that me, or him?'''
Hicks' first game was last week as both Alonso and Kenricks were injured. Playing just over one half in the loss to Dallas, he was credited with seven solo tackles and a sack and a forced fumble of the Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo. Romo broke his collarbone on the play.
''Overall, I thought I played pretty well for my first time out there,'' Hicks said. ''I have high standards and there were some plays I left out there.''
He'll get his chance to fix his mistakes Sunday against the Jets, sooner than he expected.
''I knew my primary role coming in here was to be on special teams,'' Hicks said. ''I wanted to work on that and get better every week. But it didn't mean I wasn't going to work on defense and be prepared in case anything happened.''
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