Is Jaden Hicks Next KC Steal From Day Three Of NFL Draft? (2024)

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The Kansas City Chiefs have been able to hit on multiple draft picks from day three of the NFL Draft recently. No pick is guaranteed to be a solid selection. But especially on the final day of the draft, the hit rate on those late selections is incredibly rare. But for the last few drafts, the Chiefs have been able to find success and production from those late picks. For instance, names like L’Jarius Sneed, Mike Danna, Trey Smith and Isiah Pacheco have been incredible finds from day three. Others have even stepped up in certain spots as a late pick. Now, could Jaden Hicks be the next Kansas City steal from day three of the draft?

Being a steal could be categorized via a few different scenarios. But for many people, Hicks was seen as a day two pick, likely going late in the second round or early in the third round. The Athletic’s draft expert, Dane Brugler, had Jaden Hicks as his number 39 overall prospect in the class. He was also the top safety on Brugler’s draft board, to boot. For Kansas City to get him at 133 overall, it may not even be a steal. This could simply be highway robbery for the Chiefs.

Why is that the case for Kansas City, surrounding the Jaden Hicks pick? Plus, how could Hicks be setup for immediate success within the Chiefs defense? Let’s kick it off.

Hicks’ Draft Slide Cleared Up

When listening to a recent episode of The Athletic Football Show, Brugler mentioned how the draft slide of Jaden Hicks came about. It was not anything alarming or glaring, per se. However, teams just appeared unsure of how he would fit within their defense, per Brugler. For the last few years in general, safeties have been receiving mixed reviews from the league as a whole. As they enter the draft, it is truly picking what flavor or play style appeals to you the most. That has led to some surprises in recent drafts, in terms of the order of the safeties coming off the board.

Could Jaden Hicks have landed in a better spot? With defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo and the Chiefs defense, there are a plethora of ways in which he could be utilized. Kansas City is not afraid to switch coverages throughout the course of a game. Meanwhile, the entire defensive back committee is called upon and given chances in key spots, so to speak. So even though he was not necessarily seen as a fit on all teams, Jaden Hicks is the exact style of defensive back that the Chiefs have gravitated towards.

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How Chiefs Could Benefit From That

How could the Chiefs benefit from the draft slide of Jaden Hicks? There is some noticeable versatility to his game. He could play near the line of scrimmage or in the box in coverage. It is not like he is a slouch over the top. However, Hicks may play below the roof and be tasked with man coverage reps in a KC defense that loves to play man coverage. His results down the field in that area while at Washington State were impressive.

Beyond the coverage and alignment against the pass, Hicks offers a great mix of physicality and instincts. Football IQ was a main sticking point in Kansas City becoming one of the best defenses last year. For example, Spagnuolo mentioned how that was a rare defensive unit where all 11 starters were incredibly smart. Jaden Hicks should continue to help further that stance for the Chiefs defensive unit. His understanding of leverage, body positioning and adjustments in space are items that will perhaps lead to early playing time.

Finally, Spagnuolo and the Chiefs are never afraid to throw out blitzes from any and all directions. On top of that, any defender on the team is eligible to receive chances to rush the passer. With Hicks’ movement skills and tenacious style, he may even be a candidate to blitz from the second or third level right away.

Recent Kansas City Trends Show Potential Positive Signs For Hicks

There are other potential positive signs for Jaden Hicks as he enters his rookie season. These could also make other teams look silly for letting him fall to day three as a possible draft steal. In the last couple of years, the Chiefs defense has utilized three-safety sets at a considerable rate. That is especially true, when comparing that to other teams around the NFL. Kansas City has been stingy against opposing offenses when going to five or six defensive backs on the field. Three-safety sets have essentially become their big nickel package.

Justin Reid leads the way at the position. But with Mike Edwards departing in free agency, and Chamarri Conner possibly moving to more of a true cornerback role, Hicks may see early snaps in the safety rotation. Bryan Cook will look to return strongly after suffering an injury late last season. But with recent trends of how the Chiefs deploy their defensive backs, and safeties as a whole, Jaden Hicks could quickly make other teams regret passing on him through nearly four full rounds.

Be on the lookout for more FPC Chiefs articles and analysis throughout the coming days. For more great sports and NFL content, stay tuned to Full Press Coverage.

– Braden Holecek is the Kansas City Chiefs managing editor for Full Press Coverage. He covers the NFL. Like and follow on Follow @ebearcat9// Follow @FPC_Chiefs// and Facebook.

Tags: Bryan CookChamarri ConnerFootballIsiah PachecoJaden HicksJustin reidkansas city chiefsL'Jarius SneedMike DannaMike EdwardsNFLSteve SpagnuoloTrey Smith

Is Jaden Hicks Next KC Steal From Day Three Of NFL Draft? (2024)
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