Three Cougars taken on NFL draft's final day, Idaho's Hayden Hatten signs as undrafted free agent with Seahawks

Apr. 28—Three Washington State Cougars heard their names called on the final day of the NFL draft and a pair of Idaho Vandal brothers signed free agent deals moments after the draft concluded Saturday.

WSU safety Jaden Hicks, edge Brennan Jackson and cornerback Chau Smith-Wade all received phone calls from NFL general managers in the span of a couple hours in the fourth and fifth rounds.

For Idaho, star wide receiver Hayden Hatten signed an undrafted free agent deal with the Seattle Seahawks as one of three Vandals to ink a contract after the draft.

It was a busy day for former Cougars and Vandals after neither program had a player selected on the first two days of the draft.

"Those three guys are football players, and I'm just telling you (they) are going to play in the league for a long time," WSU coach Jake Dickert said of his three draftees. "I don't care where they got drafted. At the end of the day, those guys are primed, they're ready and I guaranteed them they're trained better than the rest. I mean that. They're ready for this moment."

WSU safety Hicks picked by Chiefs

Hicks will join another former Cougar defensive back on the two-time defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs.

The WSU sophomore was picked by the Chiefs at No. 133 overall in the fourth round. He'll join former Cougar cornerback and third-year pro Jaylen Watson in the team's defensive backfield.

The 6-foot-2, 215-pound Hicks made a name for himself as a hard-hitting safety during his two years in Pullman. As a sophomore, he was an honorable mention All-Pac-12 honoree last season after tallying 79 tackles, two interceptions including one returned for a touchdown, four passes defensed, six tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks and one forced fumble.

Rams select WSU edge Jackson

After spending more than six years in Pullman, Jackson's next team will be in the NFL.

The Los Angeles Rams selected the former Cougar captain and edge rusher at No. 154 overall in the fifth round.

Jackson was an All-Pac-12 second-team honoree each of the last two seasons and memorably returned three fumbles for touchdowns as a senior last season — one in a win against Wisconsin and two in a victory over Colorado.

Coincidentally, those 18 points made Jackson the seventh-highest scorer on the team last season. But he also finished fourth in the league with 12.5 tackles for loss, tied for fourth with 8.5 sacks and led the nation with four total fumble recoveries.

Wazzu's Smith-Wade nabbed by Panthers

Despite missing five games last season with an injury, speedy Smith-Wade was taken by the Carolina Panthers with the 158th pick in the fifth round of the draft.

Smith-Wade had just 36 tackles and no interceptions in seven games this season, but he had a highlight showing with a big interception that was nearly returned for a touchdown in the Reese's Senior Bowl.

Three Vandals go pro

Idaho's all-time touchdown receptions leader, Hatten (33), won't be traveling far to begin his professional career with the Seahawks.

The Phoenix native recorded 3,449 career receiving yards during his tenure in Moscow, which is good enough for second-best in program history.

Hatten was a consensus All-American in 2022 after notching 1,209 receiving yards and 16 touchdown receptions, which is also a program record.

The 6-foot-2, 205-pounder is a two-time All-American and was a finalist for the Walter Payton award, which is given to the best offensive player in the Football Championship Subdivision in 2023. Hatten's running mate the last two seasons, receiver Jermaine Jackson, signed with the New Orleans Saints as an undrafted free agent.

The pair of pass catchers accounted for 62.8% of the Vandals' receiving yards over the last two years and more than half of their touchdown receptions.

Jackson was a speedy option opposite Hatten and had 1,642 yards receiving the last two seasons.

The Oakland native was a special teams ace, tallying 33 punt returns for 540 yards and three scores.

He had two return TDs this season, including an 86-yard dash in Idaho's 20-17 win over Southern Illinois in the second round of the FCS playoffs on Dec. 2.

The Hatten family had an exciting day on Saturday as Hayden's twin brother, Hogan Hatten, also inked a professional contract.

The long snapper was signed by the Detroit Lions as an undrafted free agent.

Hogan Hatten appeared in all 13 games for the Vandals in 2023 and recorded three tackles in punt coverage.

The 6-2, 220-pounder made the move to full-time long snapper in 2022 and appeared in all 12 games for Idaho.

He went the entire season without a bad snap, blocked a punt against Drake and recorded a safety against Montana.

Other Cougars to sign as undrafted free agents

The other Cougars to sign as undrafted free agents were edge Ron Stone Jr. (Raiders), wide receiver Lincoln Victor (Broncos) and cornerback Cam Lampkin (Rams).

Wiebe and Pixley may be contacted at (208) 848-2260 or at