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2022 NFL Draft Prospect Profile: S Kyle Hamilton, Notre Dame

The Giants have a legitimate chance at landing Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton in the first round. Nick explores why this prospect is one of the most complete prospects in this draft class.
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Kyle Hamilton, S 

Height: 6’4
Weight: 220 lbs.
Class: Junior
School: Notre Dame
Arm length: 33”
Hand size: 9 ⅛”


A former four-star recruit out of Marist School in Atlanta, Georgia, Hamilton was the fifth-ranked safety in the 2019 cycle and the ninth-ranked Georgia prospect. According to 247Sports, he was also the 60th overall ranked player. Hamilton was born in Heraklion, Greece.

Notables

Hamilton was one of the more impactful defenders in 2021 before suffering a knee injury in Notre Dame’s 31-16 week eight victory over USC. Before his injury, Hamilton had 34 tackles, two for a loss, three interceptions, and four passes defended. He ended his career at Notre Dame with 138 tackles, 7.5 for a loss, eight interceptions, 16 passes defended, and he aligned all over the backend of the defense.

Hamilton was a consensus All-American in 2021. The junior was invited to the NFL Scouting Combine:

  • 40-yard-dash: 4.59
  • Vertical jump: 38”
  • Broad jump: 131”
  • 3-Cone: 6.90
  • Short-shuttle: 4.32

Hamilton’s 40-yard-dash was disappointing in Indianapolis. He swerved laterally as he exploded through his 10-yard-split during the 40-yard-dash that may have hindered his time. He played faster than a 4.59 player.  

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Strengths

  • Elite size and excellent athletic ability
  • Large tackle radius is combined by excellent burst, lateral movement skills, and speed
  • Max speed was 21.7 MPH
  • Good footwork, no wasted steps in coverage or while coming downhill
  • Very fluid hips for a player of his size
  • Very balanced player who does an excellent job breaking down and squaring up in space at the tackle point
  • A very controlled and measured player - flexible
  • Elite type of range is evident by his INT against FLST
  • Insane processing - handled an impressive amount of responsibilities - mentality/overlap replaced cleared out teammates to remove backside crossers (2020 vs BC Q2 5:11 1st & 10)
  • Was very calm, cool, and collected - not a lot of panic in his game
  • Has the range, angle ability, and pursuit downhill to play single-high MOFC
  • Understanding of spatial awareness in zone and pattern-match concepts were excellent and quickly diagnosed
  • Can execute any zone coverage responsibility - route recognition is very good
  • Has the athletic ability and coverage skills to stay in phase in man coverage
  • Great INT against FLST (yeah, another one) in trail against the #3 WR on a seven near the sideline
  • Good overall ball skills; there wasn’t an abundance of plays on the ball, but the ability, processing, and timing were all obvious
  • Great adjustment ability and brings a ton of physicality to the catch point - plays through the catch point aggressively
  • So quick to come downhill from a cushion and cut ball carriers angles off while staying square and balanced
  • Uses length well to keep himself clean of blockers
  • Angle to the tackle point is good
  • Flies downhill excellently while moving laterally with great pursuit
  • Run support from the MOF and deep half are exceptional
  • Flies into the alley with controlled violence to halt ball carriers
  • His ability to come downhill from split safety looks and execute his run fits is a rare sight
  • Excellent in run support and coverage - an all around player
  • Used as a blitzer when aligned in press - was solid in this role
  • Consistently made plays from the backside - competitive toughness for days

Can Improve

  • May struggle in man coverage against smaller shiftier wide receivers; this was evident in 2021 against Cincinnati where WR Trey Tucker (5’9, 175 lbs) beat him for a touchdown, and another big catch - those were Tucker’s only two catches of the game
  • Transition in press left him susceptible to Tucker’s touchdown on an outside release seven from the #3 WR spot
  • Horizontal transitions in tight spaces aren’t his strength but aren’t a liability
  • Change of direction in tight spaces is good for a player of his size, but just average for typical safety prospects
  • At times, when square, he will fly into tackles too high
  • Doesn’t have the same pop on contact as other safeties of his size, albeit he’s not deficient in this area
  • Didn’t align in press too often, but he needs to keep his feet more active - allowed receivers to release and create separation due to slower response at the LOS (Tucker blew by him on an inside release/seven route)
  • Had a knee injury that ended his 2021 season

Summary

Overall, it’s difficult to find more complete players in the 2022 NFL Draft than Kyle Hamilton. He’s extraordinary in many aspects; his size, body control, range, and ability in run support are elite traits that can change the framework of a defense’s philosophy. 

Hamilton is unfairly compared to Isaiah Simmons (Clemson linebacker from 2020). The Notre Dame product has a lot more to offer, and the assignments entrusted to him as a Golden Domer showed his unique versatility and excellent ability to process the game at a high level.

A more fair comparison would be Chargers’ Derwin James, although James is more physical. Hamilton’s height forces a high center of gravity. While this isn’t a big problem, it does leave him more vulnerable against smaller shiftier receivers in man coverage when aligned in the slot. 

Hamilton’s impact at the next level can truly be difference-making. He has a high ceiling and a high floor and should be a Pro Bowl type of player at the next level, provided he stays healthy.

GRADE: 7.23


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