NFL Draft News & Analysis

2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Washington State S Jaden Hicks

2T1248H Washington State defensive back Jaden Hicks (25) takes his stance during an NCAA football game against UCLA on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

The 2024 NFL Draft is fast approaching. The PFF big board is live, mock draft season is in full swing and the 2024 NFL Scouting Combine has wrapped up.

The 2024 safety class showcases a broad range of skill sets. Leading the pack is Minnesota’s Tyler Nubin, who could thrive in two-high shells. There are also players like Georgia’s Javon Bullard who project better as nickel defenders.

Let's look at Washington State‘s Jaden Hicks, who led his team with 63 tackles over the last two seasons.

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Hicks played in just one game as a true freshman at Washington State, enduring some early struggles that lit a fire under him. He started 11 of 13 games as a redshirt freshman and served as a full-time starter again in 2023.

He is a consistent pre-snap communicator when the offense uses motion and does well to anticipate where the ball is going in zone/roaming coverage roles.

Hicks demonstrates tone-setting tackling. His cornerback background gives him a good baseline for slot man-coverage assignments. He still lacks long speed and twitch, but when he can keep things in front of him, he has good speed to make plays downhill.

Click here to see Jaden Hicks' 2024 NFL Draft profile!


WAA represents the number of wins a player is worth over an average college football player and is a metric evaluators can utilize to assess performance.

It combines how well a player performed in each facet of play (using PFF grades) and how valuable each facet is to winning football games. The result is a first-of-its-kind metric that allows for cross-positional valuation and predicts future value at the player and team levels.

Hicks’ Wins Above Average (WAA) since 2022.


Coverage grade is not a stable measure by itself, but it becomes more stable when it is used to evaluate players who will go on to play in similar situations. For example, it is better to project a safety to a safety role than it is to project a safety to a slot cornerback role.

Therefore, it’s informative to isolate performances in specific situations, such as snaps played at free safety or snaps played in the box.

Forced incompletion rate is relatively stable from season to season, making it an important number when projecting future performance. PFF run-defense grade is also very stable from year to year, while run-stop percentage is a good measure of playmaking in the run game.

Hicks’ percentile ranks in the most stable defensive stats since 2022.

Hicks lined up all over the field in his career, playing 202 snaps in the slot, 517 as a free safety and 705 as a box safety. His best play came from the box, where he posted a 74.1 coverage grade, allowing only 0.56 yards per snap.


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.

Safety worth way more than 2 points. Help protect your family with fast, free will.
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