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NFL Draft

Five Things to Know About Chiefs Fourth-Round Pick Safety Jaden Hicks

The Chiefs selected Hicks with the No. 133 overall pick on Saturday

After three-straight offensive selections to begin the 2024 NFL Draft, the Kansas City Chiefs made an addition to their defense on Saturday by selecting former Washington State safety Jaden Hicks with the No. 133 overall pick.

Here are five things to know about the newest member of the defense.

1. Hicks filled up the stat sheet during his final season at Washington State.

The 6-foot-2, 215-pound Hicks tallied 79 tackles, six tackles-for-loss, six passes defensed, 2.5 sacks, two interceptions and a forced fumble in 12 starts for the Cougars last season. His efforts – which included a 37-yard pick-six – earned Honorable Mention All-Pac-12 honors. He was effective the year prior, too, recording 76 tackles, seven passes defensed, two tackles-for-loss, one sack and one pick.

It's all to say that Hicks was seemingly always around the football while in school.

2. Hicks was widely regarded as a top-100 selection.

In what appears to be another great value selection for Kansas City, multiple outlets had Hicks – who the Chiefs took with the No. 133 overall pick – as a player worthy of a top-100 selection.

NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah ranked Hicks as the No. 78 player on his board, while the folks at Pro Football Focus had him as their No. 54 overall player. The Athletic's Dane Brugler, meanwhile, ranked Hicks as his No. 39 overall player, and the top safety on his board. Here's more from Brugler's evaluation:

"Overall, Hicks is a rangy, intimidating presence, both downhill and on the back end, and he offers the multi-dimensional traits to develop into an NFL starter. He projects as a scheme-friendly safety who should also contribute immediately on special teams."

3. He's a versatile player who can do a little bit of everything.

Hicks played all over Washington State's defense during his career there, logging snaps at deep safety, in the box and over the slot. Last year alone, he tallied 456 snaps in the box, 200 snaps deep and 103 snaps over the slot, demonstrating an ability to be a reliable chess piece defensively.

Here's more from Dane Brugler on Hicks' versatility:

"With his versatile skill set, Hicks has the speed to play high and the toughness to play low, filling the alley with urgency or covering big targets in space."

Additionally, here's what PFF had to say about Hicks' dynamic skillset:

"Hicks is a well-built strong safety who can play at all three levels of the field. He is a tone-setting tackler and has starting potential in two-safety systems, especially as a strong safety/robber over the middle."

As for what the Chiefs thought of him, West Regional Scout Greg Castillo said the following on Saturday:

"I think with [Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo] and [Safeties Coach Donald D'Alesio], they're going to utilize his skillset very well. He's very versatile. He can play at the linebacker depth, he can play the deep middle free safety, he can play quarters…He can do a lot, and he can do a lot effectively."

4. Hicks was durable during his time at Washington State.

The 21-year-old Hicks was a durable player for the Cougars, appearing in each of Washington State's 26 games over the last two seasons.

That stretch included 23 consecutive starts to end his career in Pullman.

5. He has shown an ability to defend the run, too.

The Chiefs' defensive scheme requires its cornerbacks and safeties to be willing tacklers, and Hicks fits that profile. Dane Brugler wrote the following about Hicks' abilities in the run-game:

"Rangy run defender and flies downhill from depth to contain outside runs or make stops at or behind the line."

Brugler added that Hicks is a "stout, physical striker."

That varied and dynamic skillset clearly caught the attention of the Chiefs, and now a member of one of the league's best defenses, he'll join Kansas City's title-defense campaign.

The Kansas City Chiefs selected Washington State Defensive Back Jaden Hicks in the 4th Round (Pick 133) of the 2024 NFL Draft.

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