Ronnie Hickman NFL Draft Scouting Report
SAF, Ohio State Buckeyes
Ronnie Hickman came to Ohio State after a standout high school career in football and lacrosse. An All-American lacrosse player, Hickman was a two-way player for DePaul Catholic in New Jersey where he finished his career with more than 1,400 receiving yards and 22 touchdowns while also starring on defense at safety.
Hickman is an aggressive downhill safety that does well to diagnose, trigger, and get around the football. The Buckeyes frequently tasked him with being the “plus one” defender in the box and I came away impressed with his ability to navigate congested areas of the field and get to the ball. He is a physical tackler that mostly does well to wrap and finish. Hickman illustrates good reactive athleticism with good short-area quickness and change-of-direction ability. Hickman is mostly sound in coverage where his ability to stay leveraged and process route combinations stand out. He has some flashy moments in man coverage where he can carry routes vertically but also holds his own reading the backfield and working into throwing lanes. He more than holds his own in man coverage opportunities against tight ends.
Hickman’s ball production has been modest and ideally, he would have showcased more in the way of making plays on the football in the passing game. The ball found him for both of his 2021 interceptions while his 2022 pick against Toledo was a good break on the football. In addition, he was more disruptive at the catch point in 2022 when challenged. The Buckeyes played him frequently in the box and in split zone looks, making it unclear what type of potential he has as a single-high defender. While I like his physicality and aggressiveness as a tackler, he isn’t immune to misses where he falls off the ball carrier. He has some room to fill out his frame and get stronger. He had an injury in high school that led to a redshirt in 2019 and his season ended in 2020 after five games due to injury.
Top Reasons to Buy In:
- Processing skills
- Physicality and willingness to get involved in run fits
Top Reasons For Concern:
- Modest ball production
- Shore up tackling efficiency
- Value as a one-high player
Size (NFL Combine):
Height: 6′ 0 1/2”
Weight: 203 lbs
Arm Length: 33”
Hand Size: 9 3/8”
Athletic Testing (TBD):
40-yard Dash: 0.00s
Vertical Jump: 00”
Broad Jump: 000”
Bench Reps: 00 reps
Ideal Role: Developmental starting safety, special teams
Scheme Fit: Any
Prospect Comparison: Brandon Jones (2020 NFL Draft)
TDN Consensus Grade: 75.50/100 (Third-Round Value)
- Marino Grade: 75.50/100
Written By: Joe Marino
Exposures: Minnesota (2021), Utah (2021), Michigan (2021), Notre Dame (2022), Wisconsin (2022), Penn State (2022)
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