Kyle Hamilton - DB - Notre Dame
Welcome to the rookie profile for Kyle Hamilton. Hamilton is a modern hybrid defender and a generational talent, and I don’t say this lightly. It’s been over 30 years ago since we last saw a safety drafted in the top 3 picks and he has the chance to break this hoodoo in this year’s draft and would be worthy to be a top 3 selection. Hamilton has that frame of a linebacker while possessing the movement skills of a defensive back, he’s a game changer.
Height: 6′ 4″
Weight: 220 lbs
40-yard dash: 4.50s
3-cone drill: DNP
20-yard shuttle: DNP
Vertical Jump: DNP
Broad Jump: DNP
Bench Press: DNP
Hamilton has a rare size for a safety boasting a frame of 6’4 and weighing in at 220lbs, he is a freak of an athlete and will have NFL coaches oozing especially when you pair his size with a vertical jump of 42 inches, this would have ranked second in the 2020 combine. Leaving high school Hamilton was the number 10 ranked player in the Country as per ESPN’s Top 100 Players and he received offers from 30 colleges including Clemson, Georgia, Ohio, LSU and Michigan however Hamilton ended up choosing Notre Dame.
In Hamilton’s freshman year started all 13 games and recorded 41 tackles, 4 interceptions and a touchdown. He was named as an Athletic All American.
During Hamilton’s sophomore season in 2020 he chalked up an impressive 63 tackles and an interception in the 11 games that he started. Hamilton was named as a Chuck Bednarik semi-finalist as Arizona Cardinal’s linebacker, Zaven Collins, went on to win the award. Hamilton also received first-team honors from USA Today, PFF, AP & FWAA.
In 2021 Hamilton was made a team captain, unfortunately though his season was cut short after just 7 games after getting injured attempting to tackle fellow draft prospect, Drake London. Across just 7 games Hamilton was still able to put up impressive numbers as he managed 34 tackles and 3 interceptions in his shortened season.
Hamilton’s size and speed are obvious strengths as they give him incredible versatility, rarely seen by safeties. He can also play at linebacker on the edge or in the middle, as a deep zone safety or even as a corner, the ultimate defensive unicorn. With his long, rangy, versatile and explosive traits he’s a dream addition to any NFL defense. Rarely out of position but when he is caught out every now and then his electric speed helps him recover.
Hamilton has very good footballing intelligence with a good football radar and is always aware of where he should be and will often pick out where the ball is going before receivers. He’s alert in the red zone and stays on the backline and will make quarterbacks pay for late throws and lapses of concentration, he also does an excellent job of reading the quarterback’s eyes and can cause an impact with his great awareness and ball abilities.
Possessing skills that we rarely see of a defensive back as he is very active in the pre-snap and can demonstrate a natural ability and awareness as a pass rusher. He’s a very good tackler with an elite range and can wrap up properly plus he will rarely overrun the ball carrier. He’s excellent in the run game and can bring down an opponent’s ground game like you’d typically see from a linebacker.
The only question that remains, will Hamilton become the first safety in over 30 years to be drafted in the top 3 or will we see him off the board as the first top 10 safety since the New York Jets drafted Jamal Adams in 2017.
It’s safe to say that Hamilton is as NFL ready as you will see at the safety position, and he really is the full package. If I really had to pick a hole in his game it would be to add a little more control into his game, whilst he has an unrivaled ability to read the QB’s eyes it may well leave him a little out of sorts in play action plays and fakes.
As much as his versatility is a real asset it’ll be interesting to see how the NFL team who picks him up will use him, hopefully they continue to use him in the same way he was deployed during his collegiate career. Any potential underlying issues from his knee injury may also be a concern to NFL medical staff.
Pre Draft Analysis
Expected Draft Capital- Round 1
The romantic in me would love to see a safety off the board as a top 3 pick for the first time in 30 years in the safety position but I think he may just miss out on the feat, more than likely we’ll hear his name called by the New York Jets, especially as the Jets occupy two of the top ten picks in this year’s draft.
A lot will depend on what the Jets prioritize more, protection for Zach Wilson or selecting a generational safety who they will definitely have their eyes on especially since losing Jamal Adams to the Seahawks back in 2020 (with Hamilton’s athletic build and speed I personally think Hamilton will become a better player than Adams) and with Marcus Maye playing this past season on a Franchise Tag deal after failing to agree terms on an extension, I think we will see Maye trying his luck in the free agency as a lot of teams will be in the market for a safety.
Should the Jets not select him with their 4th pick he will be guaranteed to become a Giant or Panther as the opportunity to have a player of Hamilton’s caliber will be too good of an opportunity for the Giants and Panthers to pass on.