The noise was the Auto hub partially engaged, the clicking.
But that shouldn't cause wheel to lock up, pull to one side when driving yes.
So you could have a couple of things going on.
Jack up both front wheels, transfer case needs to be in 2WD
Spin each wheel, front drive shaft shouldn't turn, if it does then that wheels hub is Locked.
Now turn drive shaft, I think clockwise facing towards front axle, after a few turns both front hubs should lock and wheels start to turn, one may turn more, put something under it to hold it a bit and turn driveshaft again, other wheel should start to turn now.
OPEN differential in the front means easiest wheel to turn gets all the power, so blocking that wheel transfers power to other wheel.
Now spin each wheel backwards that should unLock each hub, you may need to do each wheel twice.
Auto hubs are suppose to Lock only when front drive shaft has power, transfer cased shifted into 4WD, the axles, now rotating, causes the Lock.
If axle spin is reversed and unpowered, in 2WD, then they should unLock
If you can't turn drive shaft then there is a problem in transfer case, could be electric shifter hasn't moved fully into 2WD or ??
If you use 4WD then your best bet is to swap to Manual Hubs.
They haven't made parts to repair these Auto Hubs since 1997, the last year they were used.
These are auto to manual swap posts: Automatic To Manual Hub Conversion
And here: TRS Magazine - Ford Ranger Manual Hub Swap
These show you the insides of the Auto Hubs, I still use mine but I also take them apart every few years, when I do the front brakes, and clean them, then LIGHTLY!!!!!! grease them, too much grease causes problems.
If a part is broken then you will either need to search wrecking yards for replacement part or for a set of Manual Hubs