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NFL Draft

Kyle Hamilton’s 2022 NFL Draft Hype Is Warranted

  • The Draft Network
  • July 6, 2021
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In the scouting world, summer is a time where you get to relax and take a much-needed vacation after a rigorous spring making the pro day circuit to get mentally prepared for camp and going back on the road this fall. However, as many of you know, scouting isn’t a hobby—when you are trying to compete for a Super Bowl, it’s very hard to take time off. Oftentimes, scouting directors will assign their area scouts a project where they are to come up with a list of the top 30 or so players in their respective area and watch their tape and write a brief summer report on each player. This exercise is essential in giving top scouting executives a glimpse at who the best prospects are and it allows area scouts to prioritize certain schools when developing their fall schedules.

For us at TDN, the scouting staff has been at it for weeks evaluating the top talent in the 2022 class and writing preliminary summer reports ahead of the 2021 college football season. Summer scouting is an extremely important piece of the evaluation process as it allows us to grade a prospect through a lens that offers as much context as possible. Being able to watch a prospect’s tape early in their career and then once again at the completion of their 2021 season gives the evaluator a full understanding of who the player is as an NFL prospect.

If you only watch a player’s senior season, for example, and don’t get any exposure to the player as an underclassman, your evaluation could be skewed as you aren’t getting the full picture of the player. An example of this is with former University of Minnesota wide receiver Rashod Bateman. Bateman was outstanding as a sophomore back in 2019, where he recorded 60 receptions for 1,219 yards and 11 touchdowns. He displayed an extremely desirable skill set with excellent hands, body control, and route-running ability. As a junior, Bateman didn’t look like the same player as he dealt with the lingering effects of COVID-19. If an evaluator never saw his sophomore year film, they may have never been able to properly evaluate Bateman’s skill set. 

Over the last month or so, I have watched dozens of prospects for the upcoming 2022 NFL Draft, and one prospect specifically stood out among the rest. Notre Dame junior safety Kyle Hamilton is one of those rare prospects where when you watch their film, you get so excited and need to re-watch in order to confirm how unique the player you just watched really is.

Now, before I turned on his film I had already heard about Hamilton and how special of a prospect he is. It’s the fact that he exceeded the hype that I had heard about him that had me so excited.

Here is my summer scouting report on Hamilton after watching three games from his 2020 season. 

ProsHamilton is a unique player with a rare blend of size, length, and athleticism. Hamilton lines up in a variety of spots and is utilized as the single high, two high in split zone, in the slot, and down in the box. His versatility is one of his greatest strengths and creative defensive coordinators will have a lot of fun moving him around to create mismatches. In coverage, Hamilton is a very fluid athlete who is quick and smooth in his pedal, which is extremely impressive given his height at 6-foot-4. He’s an easy mover who can turn and flip his hips with ease and shows very little tightness. Has the athleticism and top-end speed to match tight ends in man coverage. Very good short-area burst and flashes an urgent trigger to close on anything in front of him and his rare length allows him to be consistently competitive at the catch point. Very good range playing MOF in deep zones and shows above-average instincts to break on the football. In the run game, Hamilton plays with a physical temperament and looks to deliver blows upon contact. Shows above-average instincts to read run but is explosive when filling his run assignment. Comes downhill in a hurry and is a consistent tackler in the open field. Outstanding range in the run game and can make plays from any alignment. 
ConsHamilton is extremely leggy and because of that his transitions and coming to balance when breaking down are very choppy. He has very good speed, but his short-area quickness when changing direction is just above average and quicker receivers can separate underneath when matched in the slot. Hamilton will be overaggressive at times and is prone to biting on play-action and screens. As a tackler, Hamilton will often look to deliver a knockout hit rather than come in controlled and wrap up. 

In a league that is turning more into a match-up league, Hamilton has the athleticism, size, and instincts to be a unique chess piece for defensive coordinators to move around all over the field. He will certainly be a high draft pick should he declare after this season and will be the highest-graded safety prospect to come out since Jamal Adams back in 2017 or Minkah Fitzpatrick and Derwin James back in 2018.

Before that, Hamilton will have a chance to have another dominant season at the college level and if Notre Dame has any hopes of returning to the College Football Playoff, Hamilton will have to have a monster season. As a matter of fact, rumors were circulating on social media last week that Hamilton could see snaps on offense this fall as he is such a rare and special athlete.

We have seen this before where players play both ways and have success on both sides of the football. Myles Jack was an outstanding linebacker for the UCLA Bruins and also was terrific as a running back when given the opportunity to carry the football for UCLA.  Shaq Thompson was also a linebacker who doubled as a running back at times during his career at the University of Washington. Should Notre Dame allow Hamilton to take some snaps on the offensive side of the football, I expect he would have similar success. Hamilton’s size, speed, and playmaking ability would allow him to be dangerous as a receiver or tight end and at the very least create some easy one-on-one opportunities in the red zone.

Whether or not Hamilton is allowed to play on both sides of the football, he will be must-watch TV whenever Notre Dame takes the field. It’s rare we see a prospect with his talent and when we do, it should be appreciated.

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