Amid all the talk about which edge defender the Lions should draft at No. 2, Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton continues to linger in the conversation as a wild-card option. Traditionally, safeties have not been valued on the same plane as other “premier” positions, but this isn’t necessarily a traditional draft class. If the Lions believe Hamilton can be a “unicorn” on their defense — providing matchup advantages all over the place — then this might be the year to take a shot.
Is Hamilton worth it?
Chris Burke: Nick, it’s now less than two weeks until Round 1 and the Lions’ list of possible picks almost feels like it’s expanding rather than tightening up. We’ll get into Hamilton’s specific fit with Detroit later, but just as a starting point: How hard is it to measure him against the other prospects expected to go up top?
Nick Baumgardner: Well, Chris, here we are again: Back to freak everyone out. This is Kyle Pitts 2021, Chapter II, as far as I’m concerned. It’s incredibly difficult to measure him against the top clusters at the premium spots (edge, offensive tackle) because Hamilton isn’t like any other singular player in the draft. Just like last year, when we said not to get hung up on Pitts’ listed position, the same is true for Hamilton.
We do not inevitably know what Hamilton’s true NFL position will be. We have to see where he’s picked, where he fits, that team’s schedule, etc. In theory, everything with Hamilton can be situational. He can be a free safety, strong safety, nickel corner, stack linebacker, overhang defender and maybe an outside corner. All at once, all in the same game.
Can anyone else in this draft claim similar, at any spot?
Burke: There are a couple of other linebacker/safety and defensive end/outside linebacker hybrids who walk that line — you might even have some conversations like that over Kayvon Thibodeaux, to be honest. Not to this extent, though. Let’s get into it.
Why he’s good
Burke: Aside from the potential versatility (which we’ll talk about), if you had to pick one thing about Hamilton that jumps out for you, what would it be?
Baumgardner: It would be his athletic burst at his size/length/frame. That’s cheating, but that’s my answer. You and I talk more about safeties far too much.