2022 NFL Draft: Notre Dame’s Kyle Hamilton is a player to watch early

Notre Dame Fighting Irish safety Kyle Hamilton (14). Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports
Notre Dame Fighting Irish safety Kyle Hamilton (14). Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports /

Kyle Hamilton recently declared for the 2022 NFL Draft. Here’s why he could prove to be a generational talent at the safety position. 

The 2022 NFL Draft added one more talented player to its arsenal this week. Notre Dame star safety, Kyle Hamilton officially declared for the upcoming draft this April. Despite his youth and the fact that he has appeared in just seven games this season, Hamilton is projected to be one of the top picks next year.

When it comes to traits, there’s really nothing that Hamilton is lacking. At 6’4” and 220 pounds, Hamilton is absurdly long for a safety — which could give him a big advantage against wide receivers and tight ends in the NFL.

Though history would suggest that his long frame would make him less agile or mobile than smaller safeties, that’s actually not the case with what we see on film. In fact, Hamilton is a phenomenal athlete who doesn’t have any noticeable weaknesses on tape.

In addition to being a freak athlete on a very good football program at Notre Dame, Hamilton has had very respectable production during his three years with the Fighting Irish. Since joining as a freshman in 2019, Hamilton has recorded 138 tackles, 7.5 tackles for a loss, 16 pass defenses, a defensive touchdown, and a whopping 8 interceptions in just 31 career games, via Sports Reference.

With a phenomenal skill set, great production, rare frame, and terrific athleticism we don’t see every day, how high could Hamilton go in the 2022 NFL Draft?

Hamilton could be a top-5 pick in the 2022 NFL Draft

Based on Tankathon’s Big Board, Kyle Hamilton is the 5th-best player set to enter the NFL Draft next April. When you watch him on film, it’s not hard to see why. Pro Football Focus has Hamilton even higher at 3rd overall — just behind pass rushers Aidan Hutchinson and Kayvon Thibodeaux.

While Hamilton is a spectacular talent, it’s probably a stretch to believe that a safety could be taken with the first overall pick in the draft. The safety position isn’t highly valued in today’s NFL, and typically, the team that ends up picking that high has much more pressing needs to fill at ‘money’ positions.

Still, I don’t see any indication as to why Hamilton couldn’t be a top-5 pick next year. Though this goes against historic trends, Hamilton is a generational talent at the safety position. Perhaps a team like the New York Jets (who need a lot of talent) could take the Hamilton with one of their two first-round picks that are currently on track to be the fourth and fifth overall picks in the NFL Draft.

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Kyle Hamilton is a rare breed of player. Though his decision to declare for the 2022 NFL Draft wasn’t surprising, next year’s class just got that much more talented, and it will be interesting to see how early he goes in round one.