NFL Analysis


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Jaden Hicks 2024 NFL Draft: Combine Results, Scouting Report For Kansas City Chiefs Safety

Washington State safety Jaden Hicks
Washington State Cougars defensive back Jaden Hicks (25) celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Stanford Cardinal during the second quarter at Stanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

The 2024 NFL Draft is getting close, making it an excellent time to highlight some of the class' best players with scouting reports. Each report will include strengths, weaknesses and background information. 

Here's our report on Jaden Hicks.


  • Height: 6-foot-1 7/8"
  • Weight: 211
  • 40-yard dash: 4.49 (pro day)
  • 10-yard split: 1.58
  • 20-yard shuttle: 4.37
  • Vertical jump: 37.5"
  • Broad jump: 10'2"
  • Arm length: 31 1/2"



  • Good-sized safety with excellent overall length. Predominantly aligned in the box in Washington State's defense.
  • Size and length gave a rangy feel to his movement. Covered ground easily with stride length and closing burst.
  • Strong run defender when aligned in the box and playing downhill from the back end. Aggressive and physical.
  • Showed strong key and diagnose as a box defender in the run game. Read blocking schemes and flowed to the ball.
  • Instinctive feel for navigating the box, working through traffic and making plays in the run game. Played like a LB.
  • Overall strong wrap-up tackler in the box. Brought his body with him, driving through the runner with some force.
  • Matched and carried inside routes in underneath zone coverage. Good body position with short-area burst.
  • Enough speed to run with vertical routes when he could match without having to flip his hips and transition.


  • More of a straight-line linear athlete than a loose-hipped, fluid, change-of-direction athlete. A little tight-hipped.
  • Struggled at times to make tackles in the run game when aligned in the box. Plays he must make, given his size.
  • Inconsistent with his physical presence to his run defense in the box. Did not always play with needed urgency.
  • Tendency at times to drop his head just before contact and lose sight of the runner. It can be cleaned up.  
  • Made many plays in the run game in the box when he was unblocked and had a direct, clean path to the ball.
  • Upright in his pedal as back-end safety, impacting transition and direction change. Not a post-safety player. 
  • Stiff and segmented opening hips and transitioning as back end safety. Not smooth, fluid change of direction.

Washington State safety Jaden Hicks
Washington State Cougars linebacker Taariq Al-Uqdah (18) and defensive back Jaden Hicks (25) tackle California Golden Bears wide receiver Mavin Anderson (center) during the first quarter at California Memorial Stadium. Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports


Hicks will be team and scheme specific as you project and transition him to the next level. He has excellent size and length, and there is a rangy feel to his movement. However, he is a straight-line, linear athlete who is tight in his core and hips. That significantly limits how he can be deployed in an NFL defense.

Hicks made a high percentage of his plays at Washington State as a box safety, with many of those tackles in the run game coming when he was unblocked with a clear, unimpeded sight line to the runner. Overall, Hicks was a strong box defender in the run game with an excellent feel for navigating the box and working through traffic to make tackles.

My sense is that he would have to be deployed in the box or as an overhang defender, where his lack of transition and change of direction fluidity on the back end would be minimized. This would play to his strengths as a run defender and flat defender in zone coverage.

Hicks could well be seen as a big nickel safety in the three-safety personnel packages that are becoming more prevalent in the NFL. I could also see Hicks in dime sub packages as an LB, playing underneath in zone coverage and matching up to running backs and TE in man coverage.


Hicks came out of national power Bishop Gorman in Las Vegas as a three-star recruit because there was no football season his senior year due to COVID. He started his final two seasons at Washington State.

Hicks predominantly aligned in the box, with almost 60 percent of his snaps coming there, but he played at all three levels. In Cover 3, Hicks aligned at post safety and was also the flat defender in underneath coverage.

There were man coverage snaps in which Hicks matched up to the TE. Hicks was deployed as a blitzer from the inside and the edge. Hicks made an excellent interception matching Washington’s Ja’Lynn Polk on a slot fade and showing good ball skills.