From now until the 2022 NFL Draft takes place, we hope to scout and create profiles for as many prospects as possible, examining their strengths, weaknesses, and what they can bring to an NFL franchise. These players could be potential top 10 picks, all the way down to Day 3 selections and priority undrafted free agents. Today, I’ll be profiling one of the top prospects in the draft, Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton.
#14 Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame — 6041, 220 lbs.
|Player||Ht/Wt||Hand Size||Arm Length||Wingspan|
|Kyle Hamilton||6041/220||9 1/8||33||79 3/4|
|40-Yard Dash||10-Yard Dash||Short Shuttle||3-Cone|
|Broad Jump||Vertical||Bench Press|
— Rare size and length, will be one of the biggest safeties in the game, fills out frame well and has a physically imposing, “first guy off the bus” type of build
— Tremendously well-rounded skillset, little he’s unable to do and wasn’t asked to do
— Elite range and truly covers the entire field, fantastic closing speed
— Explosive player downhill with a quick trigger, long-strider and able to cover a ton of ground
— Uses his size to his advantage, length makes him able to break up passes thrown above/away from him
— Big tackling range and excellent wrap up tackler who is able to come to balance and make open field stops
— Plays to size and displays good hit power, ballcarriers rarely break out of his tackles or fall forward for additional YAC
— Receiver-like hands with good coordination and ability to finish the play, does more than just breaks passes up, able to take the ball away
— Versatile, played all over the defense, work as box safety, linebacker, post safety, slot, outside corner
— Mix of man and zone and comfortable with both
— High football IQ, has great understanding and feel for route concepts and routinely able to jump routes
— Shows ability to break down and change directions underneath, not stiff-hipped despite height and frame
— Good speed and able to carry vertically against fades/go routes
— Good pre-snap communicator
— Played well in big-time moments against quality opponents
— Clutch player who came up in marquee moments
— Worked on special teams, even in final year, and asset on coverage units
— Highly productive career overall and a highly decorated player, regarded as team leader
— Occasionally will take too shallow of an angle from deep safety position
— Lacks elite speed due to size and bulk
— Needs to be more physical in press/slot alignment against small receivers
— Not a pure, natural coverage player in man situations and will give up separation at top of vertical breaking routes (posts/corners)
— Despite size and hit power, never forced a fumble in career
— Minor medical concerns, missed rest of 2021 season due to injury
— Two-year, full-time starter for the Fighting Irish
— Team captain in 2021
— Career: 138 tackles (7.5 TFL), 16 PDs, 8 INTs, 1 TD
— Four of his eight INTs came in fourth quarter
— 3rd-team, AP All-American in 2020, 1st-Team in 2021
— Three interceptions in seven games in 2021, had four in 2019
— Suffered knee injury in late October, missed rest of the season, coach called it “pinched fat pad”
— Four-star recruit from Atlanta, Georgia
— Star athlete in high school, averaged 23.6 yards per catch senior year along with 13.9 yards per rush (ten attempts) with two interceptions and two total blocked kicks (one punt, one kick)
— Chose Notre Dame over Baylor, Clemson, Michigan among others (also had offers from top academic schools like Penn, Stanford and Princeton)
— Marketing major
It’s rare to see a safety be involved in the Top 5 conversation. And though Hamilton’s inclusion this year is partly due to a weak quarterback class that probably won’t have any name go in that range, Hamilton’s play and talent is well worth being one of the top selections in this year’s draft.
Hamilton is everything you’d look for in a safety. If you built a prospect in a lab, he’d look like Hamilton. He has rare size at a listed 6’4, 219 pounds, a high-cut, imposing-looking player with long arms. He plays to that size too, able to use his length and frame in the pass and run game/tackling.
In the pass game, watch him tip this pass attempted to be thrown over his head from his hook zone. Most DBs aren’t going to be able to make this play but Hamilton’s height, length, and athleticism allow him to impact moments others can’t. Breaks the pass up here.
He’s a very good tackler whose size and length gives him a great tackling range. Hamilton isn’t a reckless player and does a great job coming to balance and wrapping up with force. Runners don’t break out of his tackle and rarely even fall forward.
Great example here. Watch him be able to break down from his post safety spot, strafe, and make an open field tackle on…Najee Harris. Fantastic play to prevent a good run from becoming a great one.
Hamilton is a quick-trigger and explosive downhill. Watch him key the reduced splits by the WR here, anticipate the WR end around, fly in, and make the play.
But it’s Hamilton’s range that is most impressive. He’s a long-strider who anticipates exceptionally well with a great football IQ and understanding of route concepts. He’s able to cover the whole field. His most impressive play came on this INT against Florida State coming from the deep half along the opposite hash to finish with the interception. In addition to his range, he also has great hands and ability to catch the ball.
He’s a versatile chess-piece who lined up all over Notre Dame’s defense. No assignment or alignment is foreign to him and he’s thrived in nearly every role.
Negatives are few and far between. I would like to see him be more physical when aligned as a cornerback in press coverage. Small, quick receivers can give him some trouble downfield, like here against Desmond Ridder and Cincinnati. Two examples.
Overall though, Hamilton is as impressive as they come. He should be a year-one starter and the chance to become one of football’s top safeties. He’s athletic, physical, smart, versatile, who can cover, play the run, blitz, and be a leader and building-block for any defense. Given his unique size and skillset, a comparison is tough to come up with. Most – myself included – will throw out a combination of Kam Chancellor and Derwin James. I’ll lean more towards James because Hamilton should test better than Chancellor did and I don’t think Hamilton is quite the physical punisher Chancellor was during his Legion of Boom days.
But Hamilton is something of a unicorn and I was combing through historical names to try to find a closer comparison. Hamilton will rightfully be a top five pick and make whatever team he goes to very happy.
Projection: Top Five Selection
Depot Draft Scale: 9.8 – All-Pro Talent (Top Three Pick)
Games Watched: vs Alabama (2020 Playoffs), at Florida State (2021), vs Cincinnati (2021), vs Purdue (2021)