Steelers mock draft: Rare trade-back still lands an impressive center

Oregon Ducks offensive lineman Jackson Powers-Johnson (58)
Oregon Ducks offensive lineman Jackson Powers-Johnson (58) / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
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player. 522. Jaden Hicks. Jaden Hicks. 4. . S. Jaden Hicks. . Washington State

Steelers mock draft round 4: Jaden Hicks, S, Washington St.

Another name in the draft process I’m quickly developing a crush on, Jaden Hicks isn’t a dynamic coverage safety that is going to wow you with some incredible interceptions. He isn’t going to make incredible plays in coverage. Heck, long-term he likely won’t be contending as a top 10 safety in this league.

What he is is a very safe and above-average box safety, and that is something this Steelers defense still likes to use. They had employed Terrell Edmunds in that role for the longest time, and while no one will consider him a superstar, he served his purpose for the team. Keanu Neal is a similar story, although injuries derailed his first season with the team and he isn’t locked into a roster spot next year.

Hicks lacks the coverage plays that you need in a free safety, and even as a deeper strong safety he really can only play zone effectively. That said, he has the size this team covets in their box safeties and is an aggressive run defender. His ceiling is capped, but he could be an early down safety sooner than later in his career.

You aren’t going to get a perennial pro bowl player with Hicks, but you can get a stable contributor in the fourth round by taking him. His coverage skills aren’t flashy, as he is a classic thumper as a safety, but that is something this defense needs. I love that kind of value in the fourth round for this team.