3 things to know about Chicago Bears rookie Elijah Hicks
The Chicago Bears drafted Elijah Hicks, a safety from California in the seventh round. It was the last pick the team made before a punter and Hicks was not an NFL combine invite, so he was certainly the least commonly known of the Bears draft picks.
What is there to know about Elijah Hicks, and what could he bring to the Chicago Bears?
3. Elijah Hicks suffered a Jones Fracture
The biggest thing that hurt Elijah Hicks from getting drafted higher was a pre-draft injury. Hicks was invited to the Shrine Bowl, where he had a chance to improve his draft stock, and possibly earn an invitation to the combine.
Unfortunately during that week of work, Hicks suffered a Jones fracture and has been unable to work out since. This really killed the chances of Hicks getting drafted. A Jones fracture is serious and needs proper healing which adds concern, but on top of that, teams could not get a gauge for how athletic he is.
It is much nicer for teams to get a look in person at how someone moves, then see the numbers from the testing next to the names. In the case of Hicks, there are questions about his long speed and athleticism. Not being able to answer those did not help at all.
2. Elijah Hicks has experience
Fortunately for Elijah Hicks, he has plenty of tape that the Chicago Bears leaned back on. Hicks has been at Cal for 54 games and has made 46 career starts. That amounted to 3,131 career snaps. Talk about experience.
On defense, Hicks was often in the box but also moved to the free safety role as well as nickel. He even spent the first three years of his career at cornerback before moving to safety. Hicks said that teams in the NFL view him as a safety, though.
On top of his defensive performance, Hicks also has 504 special teams for Cal. It is valuable that despite getting starting snaps he is able to come in with special teams snaps because so many former college starters project there, but have not done it often.
1. Elijah Hicks off of the field endeavors.
It seems as though the Chicago Bears are making picks to bring in the right people on top of players. Hicks appears to have a strong background as a leader on the field at Cal, but even took his endeavors off of the field.
During the pandemic, Hicks wanted to find a way to help others and set up a foundation called Intercept Poverty Foundation to offer financial assistance to students distressed by the pandemic.
This is a mature young man who understands his impact in the community beyond the football field. Whether he makes the team, sticks on the practice squad, or just stays for a training camp in Chicago it appears he is the type of player the Bears want around the facility to instill their culture.