Rams Mock Draft: Full 7-rounds eclipses others by filling hidden roster holes

NFL Draft
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With the 133rd overall pick in Round 4, the LA Rams select

Jaden Hicks, safety, out of Washington State. In previous mock drafts, I had to pour over the prospects who remained on the draft board, trying to find the players who were talented but also who had a logical fit for the Rams roster. In this mock draft, the Day 3 prospects seemed to align perfectly in both categories.

Even while the team continues to search for their best value at edge rusher, the defensive line has been upgraded with two previous picks. Now, the Rams can open their roster up to the best player available, and 6-foot-2 211-pound defensive back Jaden Hicks certainly is that. Hicks is a fiery tornado who helped the Washington State Cougars face off to the elite Pac-10 quarterbacks and receivers who are considered sure-fire Day 1 prospects.

Washington State. Jaden Hicks. Jaden Hicks draft profile. Defensive back. Jaden Hicks. player. NFL Draft Buzz. 51. NFL Draft profile. Rd 4

The LA Rams have managed to address three of four starting roles in the secondary in free agency, allowing for competition amongst rostered players to determine the fourth and final starter. But with the addition of Hicks, competition in training camp is taken to an entirely new level.

I'm not alone in my respect and appreciation of Hicks' game, and joining the team in Round 4 gives all fans an opportunity to jump on the Jaden Hicks bandwagon. He has the size of a linebacker, the speed of a wide receiver, the ferocity of an edge rusher, the savvy skills of a cornerback, and the stopping power of a wrecking ball.

Hicks is a supercomputer processor in the secondary, able to read, diagnose, and anticipate where the quarterback wants to go with the pass by reading offensive formations. He is versatile enough to be effective in all coverages, but is a true savant when it comes to zone coverages. He understands the strengths and weaknesses, and uses the presence of his teammates to force the quarterback's hand at making bad choices.

In 2023, Hicks put up 79 tackles, six tackles for a loss, 2.5 quarterback sacks, two interceptions that include one pick-six, and four pass break ups. Throw that up against the fact that he faced USC QB Caleb Williams, Oregon QB Bo Nix, and Washington QB Michael Penix, and you begin to understand just how formidable he is.