Cleveland could land star safety in 2022 NFL draft
Could Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton slide to Cleveland in the 2022 NFL draft?
History says yes.
The Browns drafted former UCLA free safety Eric Turner with the No. 2 overall pick in 1991, making him the highest-drafted defensive back in the modern era of football.
Over the past 10 drafts, only two safeties have been drafted in the top 10: LSU’s Jamal Adams, who was the No. 6 pick in 2017, and Alabama’s Mark Barron, who was the No. 7 pick in 2012 (and is now a linebacker).
Other safeties have come close to cracking the top 10, with Alabama’s Minkah Fitzpatrick (No. 11 in 2018) and West Virginia’s Karl Joseph (No. 14 in 2016) coming the closest.
But the safety cupboard has been relatively barren in recent years, with no safety going in the first round the past three drafts.
Widely regarded as the best safety prospect in recent years, teams could still be a bit concerned with Hamilton’s injury situation. He suffered a knee injury early in the October game against USC and never returned to the field. He recently announced that he was opting out of the Fiesta Bowl game against Oklahoma State to focus on the draft.
And then there’s this: What position do you play Hamilton?
Here’s what a director of player personnel told Walter Football in their most recent Hot Press report:
“I like Hamilton. He’s big, fast and has ball skills. I just don’t think his best position is safety. He is a little straight line and really doesn’t have safety instincts. All of his struggles are in space, which makes it a little difficult to be a great safety. He misses a lot of open-field tackles, and he isn’t great in man-to-man coverage.”
The director compared Hamilton to another big safety, Jeremy Chinn, who played linebacker his rookie season before moving back to free safety this season for Carolina.
As Fansided’s Factory of Sadness recently pointed out, safety is a sneaky need for Cleveland. From Fansided: “…The position is young but Ronnie Harrison is too wild to be trusted and Grant Delpit looks like anything but a starting safety in the NFL. John Johnson III has also looked bad most of the year but his contract ensures he’s sticking around. …”
Hamilton still finished with 34 tackles, 2 TFLs, 3 INTs and 4 PDs this season. While it’s unlikely that Hamilton falls that far, you can bet Cleveland will sprint to the podium if he’s still available once the Browns are on the clock.
Thank you, @kyledhamilton_ https://t.co/qhp8sVP4Vh pic.twitter.com/k1mEPKvdzK
— Greg Flammang (@greg2126) December 10, 2021