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NFL Draft Profile: Kyle Hamilton, Safety, Notre Dame Fighting Irish

NFL draft profile scouting report for Notre Dame safety, Kyle Hamilton
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#14
Pos: DS
Ht: 6040
Wt: 219
DOB: 3/15/01
Eligible: 2022
Atlanta, GA
Marist School

Kyle Hamilton
Notre Dame Fighting Irish


Pros:

Ezring: Early-round safety prospects typically boast either single-high range or a versatile skillset. Kyle Hamilton has both in a 6040, 220-pound frame. The Notre Dame product exhibits excellent short-area burst, long speed, change of direction and clean transitions. The oversized safety also has excellent play strength. The Fighting Irish’s defensive chess piece has experience in the slot, in the box, in two-high, in single-high and more. In man coverage, Hamilton is patient and physical; he uses his power to throw off a route runner’s timing and spacing. Further, the standout defender exhibits an understanding of how to leverage pass-catchers and use his length to make plays on the ball. Hamilton’s athletic profile allows him to cover tight ends and receivers. In zone coverage, the Notre Dame star exhibits solid spatial awareness and route recognition. Hamilton reads and reacts to the quarterback and has exceptional closing speed to attack the catch point once the ball is in the air. Additionally, the safety knows how to use leverage and spacing to cut receivers off. Moreover, the young defender consistently improved in zone coverage as 2020 wore on. He can operate as an NFL team’s single-high safety. It is also worth noting that the Georgia native has strong hand-eye coordination to make plays on the ball. Against the run, Hamilton boasts strong gap discipline and the athleticism to functionally two-gap. A safe tackler, the Notre Dame safety will still deliver big hits when he has the chance. He takes sound angles and plays with excellent effort. What’s more, Hamilton is a mismatch for any blocker.

Calderone: Elite size and physicality, could play in a multitude of schemes at the next level, can cover a lot of range quickly, exceptional tackler, has long arms that disrupt the passing game, instincts to read and react quickly.

Cons:

Ezring: While the Notre Dame standout looks like an early-impact player in the league, he must fine-tune his game to reach his potential. First and foremost, Hamilton plays reactively. Consequently, he can be a step slow to transition or work to the ball. What’s more, he locks his eyes on the quarterback in coverage. This means the opposing signal-caller can manipulate him in zone. Similarly, it sometimes leaves him recovering in man. Further, Hamilton tends to bite on play-action and ends up out of position against the pass. Although the talented defender displays play recognition in flashes, he is not yet an instinctive safety. Despite improving his route recognition and spatial awareness in zone coverage as the year progressed, Hamilton is still raw in that area. Additionally, the Fighting Irish star occasionally takes false steps and flips his hips late or in the wrong direction in man. Moreover, Hamilton must improve his hand usage in man coverage. His inclination to maintain contact is correct; however, he should learn to keep his hands in his opponent’s hip pocket rather than on their shoulder. Finally, Hamilton occasionally fails to break down at the tackle point and whiffs.

Calderone: Minor injury concern with ankle.

Summary:

Ezring: A standout since his freshman season, Kyle Hamilton looks like a future NFL star. The rare athlete has single-high range, excellent man coverage ability and strong run defense. While he is still developing his awareness in zone, he has already shown signs of improvement. Hamilton projects as an immediate starter who can develop into an elite safety. 

Calderone: The Notre Dame safety could be their highest-drafted defensive player in some years. Hamilton is a generational safety with elite size and physicality who has the instincts to read and react to the play quickly. He can cover tons of range in a quick span of time. The length is noticeable in the arms on tape as he's able to utilize them in creating numerous pass breakups down the field while also maintaining leverage against blockers. The Atlanta native is a reliable tackler and can break down and make a play in open space. Hamilton’s 51 tackles and six pass break-ups were a big reason Notre Dame was in the college football playoff in 2020. His play recognition down the field is superb as he is always in the right spot at the right time. Breaking on the ball is one of Hamilton's best traits, causing seven pass deflections in 2020. Athletically, Hamilton presents as a quick and agile player that can use his excellent recovery speed if he needs to downfield. There was a minor ankle injury to monitor with Hamilton but it should not negatively affect where he is drafted. Hamilton is a dynamic safety that has unlimited range and will be a top-five pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.

Background:

Born on March 15th, 2001 in Atlanta Georgia, Kyle Hamilton was a decorated athlete at the Marist School. The do-it-all safety was named the 2018 7-AAAA Special Teams Player of the Year and 2018 7-AAAA First Team All-Region by the Atlanta Journal Constitution. He was also chosen to participate in the 2019 All-American Bowl in San Antonio, Texas. In recognition of his outstanding high school career, 247Sports Composite Rankings listed Hamilton as a four-star recruit, the 60th-ranked player in his class, the fifth-overall safety in his year and the ninth-best recruit in the state of Georgia. 247Sports viewed him in an even more favorable light. The site’s own rankings named Hamilton a five-star recruit, the 15th-ranked player in the class, the top safety in 2019 and the second-best recruit from Georgia in his year. The talented safety was an immediate-impact player upon stepping foot on Notre Dame’s campus. In his first preseason with the Fighting Irish, he earned a reputation for being a ballhawk; he even recorded three interceptions in a single scrimmage. In his freshman season, Hamilton played in thirteen games and started the rivalry matchup with USC. He recorded 41 tackles, one tackle for loss, four interceptions and six passes defended. He scored a pick-six on his first defensive snap in Notre Dame’s home stadium. Following his debut campaign, Hamilton was named a Freshman All-American by The Athletic and Co-Defensive Newcomer of the Year by Echoes. Leading up to his sophomore year, the Georgia Native received several preseason decorations. He was placed on the Bednarik Award Watch List, given to the top defensive player in the nation; moreover, he was named Pro Football Focus Preseason All-ACC First Team, Phil Steele Preseason All-Independent First Team and USA TODAY Preseason All-America Second Team. What’s more, Hamilton was ranked ninth on the 2020 edition of Feldman’s Freaks List, a comprehensive compilation of the top athletes in college football. He has been recorded as having run 21 miles per hour and has a vertical jump of over 42 inches. Hamilton then broke out in the COVID-marred 2020 season. He recorded 63 total tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, one interception and six passes defended. For his performance, he was named FWAA All-America First Team, Phil Steele All-America First Team, All-ACC First Team, Associated Press First Team All-ACC, Phil Steele All-ACC First Team, AFCA All-America Second Team, Walter Camp All-America Second Team, The Athletic All-America Second Team and Associated Press All-America Third Team. Hamilton was also a Bednarik Award Semifinalist. 


One-Liners

Ezring: A true do-it-all safety, Kyle Hamilton boasts single-high range, excellent man coverage ability and top-tier run defense; he projects as an immediate starter with elite potential. 

Calderone: Hamilton is a generational safety that has unlimited range and will be a top five pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. 

Grades

Current Player Value/Potential Player Value

Ezring: 8.5 / 9.7

Calderone: 9.5 / 9.7


#14
Pos: DS
Ht: 6040
Wt: 219
DOB: 3/15/01
Eligible: 2022
Atlanta, GA
Marist School

Kyle Hamilton
Notre Dame Fighting Irish


Pros:

Ezring: Early-round safety prospects typically boast either single-high range or a versatile skillset. Kyle Hamilton has both in a 6040, 220-pound frame. The Notre Dame product exhibits excellent short-area burst, long speed, change of direction and clean transitions. The oversized safety also has excellent play strength. The Fighting Irish’s defensive chess piece has experience in the slot, in the box, in two-high, in single-high and more. In man coverage, Hamilton is patient and physical; he uses his power to throw off a route runner’s timing and spacing. Further, the standout defender exhibits an understanding of how to leverage pass-catchers and use his length to make plays on the ball. Hamilton’s athletic profile allows him to cover tight ends and receivers. In zone coverage, the Notre Dame star exhibits solid spatial awareness and route recognition. Hamilton reads and reacts to the quarterback and has exceptional closing speed to attack the catch point once the ball is in the air. Additionally, the safety knows how to use leverage and spacing to cut receivers off. Moreover, the young defender consistently improved in zone coverage as 2020 wore on. He can operate as an NFL team’s single-high safety. It is also worth noting that the Georgia native has strong hand-eye coordination to make plays on the ball. Against the run, Hamilton boasts strong gap discipline and the athleticism to functionally two-gap. A safe tackler, the Notre Dame safety will still deliver big hits when he has the chance. He takes sound angles and plays with excellent effort. What’s more, Hamilton is a mismatch for any blocker.

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