The Baltimore Ravens focused on their defense during the NFL Draft’s first round, selecting Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton with the No. 14 overall pick.
Any first-round pick can heavily impact his team’s future, and that’s no different with Hamilton. Offseason moves can change an organization’s course, and with sports betting apps and offers like the FanDuel Maryland promo code expected to launch soon in the state, plenty of eyes will be on Baltimore and what players like Hamilton will do this season.
So what are the Ravens getting out of Hamilton?
One of Hamilton’s greatest strengths is something that can’t be taught or schemed: his size.
He is 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds, an ideal size for an NFL safety, so Hamilton won’t be a one-trick pony for the Ravens. He should be able to both defend passes and make plays on the ball while also helping in run defense.
And Hamilton’s size, along with his other attributes, has garnered praise from analysts. He was widely considered to be the top safety in the draft, with some even surprised he fell to the fourteenth spot.
“Best pick of the first round thus far,” CBS Sports NFL Draft Analyst Chris Trapasso tweeted on April 28. “My No. 1 prospect. Such a smart pick by shrewd org. Hamilton does everything you need out of a multi-dimensional safety today (at intimidating size) & safety position was a need. Grade: A+.”
Some analysts were disappointed in Hamilton’s 40-yard dash times leading up to the draft, as he ran a 4.59 during the NFL Combine and a 4.70 during Notre Dame’s Pro Day, but the size he possesses, and the plethora of ways it allows him to cover the field, will likely make up for any qualms there.
Plenty of production
While Hamilton’s physical abilities may be up for debate, his production on the field certainly isn’t.
Though he was limited to only seven games in his final Notre Dame season due to injury, he still notched 34 tackles and three interceptions.
Hamilton made an impact immediately at Notre Dame, snagging four interceptions as a freshman despite starting just one game. As a sophomore, he started 11 games and totaled 63 tackles and one interception.
Hamilton’s Notre Dame career proved how versatile he is, with superb pass coverage and run defense capabilities in his portfolio. That’s exactly what the Ravens saw in him, and when he dropped to the fourteenth spot in the draft, they jumped at the opportunity to take him.
“Just too good of a player,” Ravens General Manager Eric DeCosta said, according to The Baltimore Sun. “It was kind of a no-brainer, to be honest, for us. It wasn’t even contemplation. Had the phone been ringing at that time, we would not have traded out, away from him. And just these kinds of players, we feel, are unique. And he can help us in so many ways.”
An excited rookie
Simply put, Hamilton is also just another rookie ecstatic to have a shot in the NFL. And he’s glad he’ll get his chance in Baltimore.
“I’m very excited to be in Baltimore,” Hamilton said, according to 247Sports. “One of the best organizations in the league. To be able to play for a team like that from the start, I’m excited. I hope to win a Super Bowl this year. Hopefully, I can add to that mission.”
Hamilton will join a Ravens squad that is looking to rebound from a sub-par 8-9 record last season. Baltimore started strong at 8-3, then went cold, losing its last six games.
The Ravens’ safety room includes Chuck Clark, who tallied 80 tackles and two interceptions last season. The team also recently signed former Saints safety Marcus Williams to a five-year contract, adding to their talent at the position.
With the depth the Ravens possess at safety, it wouldn’t be a surprise for Hamilton to split time on the field early or be used in specific roles, such as a hybrid safety/linebacker, or in certain situations during the course of games. It would be an ideal circumstance for a young defender, with the opportunity to gain valuable experience without being thrown totally into the fire.
Still, with the talent and size Hamilton brings to the table, there’s also the possibility he earns a starting job sooner rather than later. And once he does, there’s a good chance he could produce the same results for Baltimore as he did during his college career and become the player the Ravens front office envisions he can be.