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NFL Draft Matchup: Notre Dame CB Cam Hart, S Kyle Hamilton vs USC WR Drake London

Breaking down the NFL Draft implications of the matchup between Notre Dame's Kyle Hamilton and Cam Hart vs. USC wideout Drake London

Heading back to summer scouting, USC wide receiver Drake London was a hot topic of conversation, appearing to be one of the front runners to finish as one of the most highly coveted pass catchers in the 2022 NFL Draft class.

Blessed with outstanding size and length for the position, London has been an absolute menace for opposing teams thus far this season, posting 832 yards and five touchdowns on 64 receptions. The uniqueness London brings to the field makes him an almost impossible cover, bringing a matchup with multiple defenders to slow the talented pass catcher down.

Notre Dame quietly boasts one of the top inside-outside duos in all of college football, in the tandem of star safety Kyle Hamilton and breakout cover man Cam Hart.

Typically, you would picture the ideal one-on-one matchup being a wide receiver against an outside cornerback. The problem: London’s impact isn’t strictly made outside the numbers.

INSIDE OUT IMPACT

After playing a large majority of reps inside in 2020 as a de facto big slot, London has seen a lot more opportunities outside this season, showing a new element to next level evaluators. His impact last season was as a quick separator inside, giving him some YAC opportunities to create chunk plays post catch.

The issues from an evaluation perspective were upside with a guy like London. Boasting an ideal frame to play on the outside, there was just not a ton of evidence to understand the impact.

There is no reason to believe that he can’t translate well outside but until we see it, it isn’t tangible. Spending time early in his career as a member of the USC basketball team, London is a springy athlete who has flashed the ability to win above the rim. With more and more reps winning outside, he offers up an opportunity to rise into the first round as he continues to develop.

There is still work to be done as a route runner. London possesses just ordinary long speed so creating separation is going to be a huge element to his evaluation. Threatening from various alignments will also help remedy concern.

TOP TALENT

Rare for a safety, Kyle Hamilton is looking to change the record books come April. There has never been a safety drafted higher than fourth overall in the history of the NFL Draft. Hamilton has the type of talent to change that.

This storyline has long been illustrated. Hamilton has the combination of size, athleticism and impact from various alignments to be a potential generational talent from the safety position. London’s initial impact, working inside, offers a huge potential impact for Hamilton.

We haven’t seen Hamilton working as much in man coverage as we have on spurts during the course of his career. When he has, he has shown the talent to match up against both traditional and big slots effectively.

That area, specifically, is where the intrigue begins when facing London.

ASCENDING TALENT

If you have stayed up to date on this series, you know that cornerback Cam Hart has begun to garner some interest from the NFL Draft perspective. Just how much remains to be seen, especially with Hart sitting with two years of eligibility (including the extra COVID year) past this season.

This game gives London a huge opportunity, working against arguably the top wide receiver he has seen to date. It also presents him with a matchup that does slightly fall into his favor. With outstanding length for the position at around 6’2 1⁄2”, Hart does some admirable work playing on the vertical plane on the field against size.

There are still some questions as to how reasonable it could be that Hart is a candidate to declare early. One thing is certain, he absolutely boasts the talent to do so. A big game here will only add to the momentum.

WHAT’S ON THE LINE?

For each player, this matchup means something much different. Kyle Hamilton for instance, doesn’t need a gigantic performance to cement opinions on him.

Everyone already knows he’s special.

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For Notre Dame, however, Hamilton’s impact can not be understated. When matching up against London, he has the opportunity to cut off some easy opportunities over the middle. Forcing London to make a majority of his plays outside the numbers is advantageous for him and Coach Marcus Freeman’s defense.

In that matchup with Hamilton and Hart, it presents continued momentum for London. He has already pushed himself to near top the class with his performance this season. Dominating this matchup from multiple alignments on a National stage can help to cement the talent that has been put on display.

Hart may be the biggest potential winner in this particular game. We have seen teams avoid Hart, opting to attack Clarence Lewis and company instead. If he is able to get those opportunities, Hart will have the chance to prove that he can hand with a potential top fifty selection in Drake London.

Counteracting this type of size and athletic profile is beyond attractive for next level evaluators. Plus, Notre Dame could really use a boost in this matchup to slow down the streaky but talented USC passing offense.

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