The Baltimore Ravens selected Notre Dame star Kyle Hamilton with the 14th overall pick in the 2022 NFL draft on Thursday.
Hamilton was widely considered one of the top defensive players in this year's draft class. He was not only the No. 1 safety but also the No. 7 overall player on the B/R NFL Scouting Department's big board.
Here's how the 6'4" defensive back will fit into Baltimore's depth chart:
LDE: Derek Wolfe, Justin Madubuike, Xavier Kelly
NT: Michael Pierce, Isaiah Mack
DT: Broderick Washington, Kahlil McKenzie, Aaron Crawford
RUSH: Odafe Oweh
WLB: Patrick Queen, Kristian Welch
MLB: Malik Harrison, Tyus Bowser, Jaylon Ferguson, Daelin Hayes
CB: Marlon Humphrey, Iman Marshall
CB: Marcus Peters, Kevon Seymour, Robert Jackson, Kevin Toliver II
FS: Marcus Williams, Brandon Stephens, Ar'Darius Washington
SS: Kyle Hamilton, Chuck Clark, Geno Stone, Tony Jefferson
Hamilton was limited to seven games in his junior season because of a knee injury he suffered in a victory over USC in October. As a result, his numbers from 2021 (34 tackles, two tackles for loss, four pass breakups and three interceptions) don't jump off the page.
Still, he only needed half a season to solidify his status as a potential top-10 pick. He made quite the opening statement, intercepting two passes in the Fighting Irish's Week 1 win over Florida State.
Evaluating Hamilton ahead of the draft, B/R NFL Scout Cory Giddings compared him to Arizona Cardinals hybrid defender Isaiah Simmons. Giddings described Hamilton as "a generational talent who gives defensive coordinators endless options" because of his versatility:
"He has the man-coverage ability to defend all types of threats—from the bigger tight ends, to the shorter traditional slot receivers. Although he can play in all schemes and coverages, he does some of his best work when he drops in underneath coverage. There, he does a great job of reacting to what he sees. He anticipates routes and uses his length and short-area quickness to get his hands on passes.
"Hamilton is a great blitzer who uses his hands well to take on and control blockers. On top of his physical stature, he is a hard-nosed tackler who throws his body around, delivering massive blows to ball-carriers all over the field."
Giddings added that Hamilton might slot in more as a linebacker once he settles in at the next level, which is where Simmons is deployed for the Arizona Cardinals.
Especially with the right defensive coordinator, the former Fighting Irish safety can disrupt a game in so many ways.
Because of his unique skill set, his adjustment to the NFL could take a little longer compared to more traditional safeties. Once he has a full season under his belt, he could emulate Seattle Seahawks star Jamal Adams, who was a Pro Bowler by his second year and an All-Pro by his third.
The Ravens were hammered by injuries in 2021, which led them to allowing 363.4 yards per game and ranking 28th in defensive efficiency at Football Outsiders. That was quite a drop from when they were ninth in 2020.
In a division that already had Joe Burrow and added Deshaun Watson this offseason, strengthening the defense was a clear priority.