Eleven targets for the Commanders at pick No. 11: Kyle Hamilton

Eleven targets for Commanders at pick No. 11: Kyle Hamilton originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

In this series, Pete Hailey will preview 11 players whom the Commanders could select with the 11th overall pick in the upcoming NFL Draft.

Next up: Safety Kyle Hamilton.

Background: 6-foot-4, 220-pound defensive back… Atlanta, Ga. native… Turned 21 years old a month ago… Played three seasons at Notre Dame… Eight interceptions, 24 passes defended, 7.5 tackles for loss in collegiate career.

Biggest strength: With Hamilton, there are so many top-notch traits to choose from — his versatility, his hitting and his ability to read offenses are all highly-regarded — but his deep range might stand out most of all. Just ask Florida State:

Though Hamilton is physical enough to play close to the line of scrimmage and can also mix it up with tight ends in the intermediate areas of the field, his centerfield, ball-hawking nature is impossible to miss.

His speed, his fluidity and his length mean he should generate plenty of interceptions at the next level and confound opposing quarterbacks on a routine basis.

Biggest question mark: Identifying a flaw in Hamilton’s game is like complaining about a bowl of ice cream — there’s really nothing wrong with either and trying to prove otherwise feels snobby.

However, for the sake of this section of the story, it’s necessary to point out that he did miss Notre Dame’s last six contests in 2021 due to a right knee injury. He also went sack-less while in school. 

That said, he racked up a Freshman All-American nod and two First-Team All-American designations for the Fighting Irish, so again, he’s a pretty unassailable prospect. 

Potential fit in Washington: With how much Hamilton is being celebrated, Commanders fans could be forgiven for wondering how in the hell he could possibly make it to pick No. 11. The reason is because of the position he plays.

Quarterbacks — even an unheralded group like the one from this year’s class — offensive tackles and pass rushers tend to hog the spots at the top of the draft board, and 2022’s event will be no different. Plus, there are a couple of receivers who could be selected rather early on, too.

That’s why someone as talented and beloved as Hamilton is actually a realistic option for Washington.

Now, in terms of his fit, it’s essentially limitless. The Commanders already employ the multi-skilled Kam Curl and the coverage-minded Bobby McCain at safety, but Hamilton would expand the defense’s capabilities far more than those two could on their own.

If Washington wanted to stick Hamilton 20 yards away from the snap and let him hunt for interceptions every down, it could.

If Washington wanted to use Hamilton like it did Landon Collins in the latter half of the 2021 campaign and let him star as a safety-linebacker hybrid, it could.

And if Washington wanted to do a combination of those things with Hamilton, plus assign him a handful of other responsibilities each week, it could. He’s that gifted and that versatile.

Random and probably ultimately useless fact that’s being included in this story anyway: Hamilton’s brother, Tyler, once scored a 29 on the ACT. Kyle then surpassed that on his first attempt by registering a 30. “He likes to have that little bragging right,” Tyler said, probably with bitterness in his voice. 

Previous profiles: WR Treylon Burks | CB Trent McDuffie

This article was written by WTOP’s news partner, NBC Sports Washington. Sign up for NBC Sports Washington’s free email subscription today.

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