The premier prospect on my board during the 2022 draft cycle, while Notre Dame’s Kyle Hamilton had to wait a little later than desired to hear his name called in round one, his addition into a veteran-laden Baltimore Ravens secondary has introduced a unit that could progress into one of the league’s best this fall.
An otherworldly blend of athleticism, football IQ, and unlimited versatility, Hamilton is a one-of-one talent with the necessary skill set to completely revamp a defensive unit. A well-framed prospect at 6-foot-4 and a tick over 220 pounds, Hamilton leaves no box unchecked as a defender that can roam the ceiling, creep down as a robber at the second level, and one who isn’t afraid to stick his nose in as a downhill run defender near the line of scrimmage. A talent who will now work alongside elite aerial stalwarts in Marlon Humphrey, Chuck Clark, Marcus Peters, and newly signed Marcus Williams, Hamilton’s path to snaps won’t see him thrust into the fire. Rather, it will be a gradual stroll into the deep waters that is safety play at the NFL level that will allow him to slowly adjust to the speed of the pro game.
One of the most impressive clips of any prospect from last fall, his skill set will more than play for head coach John Harbaugh.
This play from Kyle Hamilton remains one of the most impressive clips from any prospect this fall.
He’s from another planet. pic.twitter.com/eFkkubbcSJ
— Ryan Fowler (@_RyanFowler_) February 16, 2022
Aligned in a two-high safety shell, Hamilton finds himself on top of the opposite hash at the snap. As the play begins, he opens his hips to the inside to account for both the seam-stretching tight end and outside receiver. However, the moment the play begins to break down and the Florida State quarterback escapes from the pocket, almost simultaneously, Hamilton plants his foot in the ground in a beeline to the sideline. In what was nearly a 30-yard sprint, his ability to range over to the opposite side of the cover area and not only pursue the football, but record an interception falling out of bounds, is a play that few athletes, if any, can make.
It really was a herculean display of athleticism and simply not normal, folks.
That amount of range, closing speed, and the presence of mind to make a play on the football after aligning on the field side hash at the snap? Otherworldly. In a modern NFL that has continued to become increasingly pass-happy as the seasons wear on and teams attempt to keep up with the Patrick Mahomes’ and Josh Allens’ of the world, a talent like Hamilton not only has Ravens brass drooling over his potential as an apex playmaker but has become a necessity to counter the high-flying aerial attacks of the pro game.
From Jordan Poyer to Kevin Byard to Jessie Bates III, Derwin James, and Clark, none compare to the fundamental athletic profile that Hamilton possesses. The former Notre Dame standout is just different. With arguably the highest floor and highest ceiling of any player in the entire 2022 NFL Draft class, it’s OK to simply draft good players if you’re an organization like Baltimore who has made it a habit of leaving each year with a plentiful helping of young talent.
Labeled the unicorn of the class, line him up man-to-man on a wideout and he has the mirroring ability and arm length to discombobulate any route stem. Need a run defender? Place him anywhere and allow his elite processing skills to diagnose the gap before the ball-carrier works upfield.
A player with as refined a game as you’ll see in the rookie class, Hamilton possesses all the traits to become a bonafide star in Baltimore.
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