Steelers Mock Draft: Steelers build for future playoff success

Alabama Crimson Tide offensive lineman JC Latham (65)
Alabama Crimson Tide offensive lineman JC Latham (65) / Gary Cosby Jr. / USA TODAY NETWORK
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Jaden Hicks. . 522. . . . Safety. . . 4

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

Safety became a bit of a mess for the Steelers this season. The hope was for the combination of Keanu Neal and Damontae Kazee to handle the starting role and supplement Minkah Fitzpatrick. Mixed play, injuries, and suspension derailed that, and it seemed like a new face was constantly rotating in at safety every week.

I’d rather see the Steelers land an every-down strong safety, and the middle rounds of the draft have proven to be a good spot to find those guys. The same can be said this year, so I take Jaden Hicks out of Washington St. in the fourth round.

While Hicks lacks the coverage skills to be an elite deep safety, he has the size and physicality to play in the box and closer to the line of scrimmage. While not an uber athlete, he plays hard every down and is never not involved in the play. While coverage isn’t his strength, he matches up well with physical targets and tight ends given his willingness to play so physically.

Hicks reminds me of a more unathletic Terrell Edmunds. No, he won’t completely change this defense, but he could provide a stable face in the secondary and a viable run defender in the box. Getting a player like that on day three is a no-brainer, and his fit with this defense seems almost perfect on paper.