OWINGS MILLS Md. —’s path to the He started his career when he was running the NFL combine's 40-yard dash.
If this had been track, Hamilton would’ve been disqualified for going outside his lane. Hamilton was disqualified for running in this manner in front of the NFL scouts. He would be given a free fall in draft.
Hamilton’s slower-than expected time of 4.59 seconds created doubts whether the Notre Dame safety could cover ground at the next level, and it caused the one-time, top-5 prospect to slide to the Ravens at the No. 14th overall pick.
The Ravens, who have a history of trusting what they see on tape over the stopwatch, have no concerns about Hamilton’s speed.
“You look at his game speed [and]What you see on tape. He’s covering ground,” Ravens director of player personnel Joe Hortiz said. “He’s flying up. He’s showing bursts. He’s showing explosiveness and range. You can then look at your speed grade and your grade and you will see that it matches.[-yard dash time] didn’t match up.”
For anyone who's not seen it, please watch Kyle Hamilton's 40 (~45yds in the end?) ⤵️
You've never seen him weave in a game like that! You can see his speed on film. Stop overthinking possibilities!
— Luke Carr (TD4LC) (@LukeCarrNFL) March 29, 2022
Case in point: Hamilton’s first of two interceptions against Florida State last season. Hamilton started at the right hashmark and ran all the way up to the other sideline to make his pick. Hamilton still had to run about 20 yards to reach the spot where the pass was being thrown.
Hamilton showed exceptional instincts and recognition on one play. He looked at the quarterback before looking at the receiver and then the quarterback before he made his catch on the ball).
“People talk about his 40 time; I could tell you what some of our best players have run, 40-wise, over the years,” Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta said. He is a versatile player who can move with speed, agility and awareness. He’s quick. He is a great observer. So, he can do it all.”
Ed Reed, safety, was drafted by the Ravens in 2002 at No. 24 overall pick after he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.57 seconds (which is nearly identical to Hamilton’s time). Reed became one of the game’s best ball hawks and got inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2019.
In 2003, linebackerAt the No. Because of his slow 40-time, he was the No. 10 overall pick. Brian Billick, then-Ravens coach, joked that Suggs wouldn't have to run 40 yard to reach the quarterback. Suggs ended up as the franchise’s all-time sacks leader and was the 2011 NFL Defensive Player of the Year.
Hamilton and Reed will not be compared by Ravens officials. Baltimore is optimistic that Hamilton will change the game by becoming the latest defensive first round pick.
Hamilton can play deep in coverage, or stop the run by setting up in the box. Sports Info Solutions has found that Hamilton is the targeted defense in coverage and has had the lowest Total QBR (5.3) since 2019. Hamilton allowed only one touchdown during his college career.
“He’s like a chess piece,” Hortiz said. “So, you see that, and you’re fired up that you get a chance to take him at [Pick]14 and that he lost to you. That’s why you just think he’s going to be gone, because he’s a playmaker at multiple different levels of a defense.”
Hamilton was a versatile player, but he knew that Hamilton's 40-yard run would hurt his chances of being drafted. Hamilton looked at the stadium's video board before he ran at the combine. It had his comparable as, a two-time first-team All-Pro safety. After his disappointing 40, his counterpart on the videoboard changed to A second-round pick, who has been a solid starter for Panthers.
But Hamilton still wasn’t expected to fall that far. He was likely to be available at the No. The ESPN draft day predictor showed that the likelihood of him being available at the No. 14 pick was 32%.
Hamilton, though, wasn’t complaining about where he landed.
“I was just talking with Coach [John Harbaugh] earlier about we'll look back 10 years later and realize it was the perfect fit and everything happened for the right reasons,” Hamilton said before his introductory news conference, before adding some levity. “Selfishly, [this is]This is a very strong defense organization, and it has produced some really good players. It has a pretty solid safety. [Reed]Then a linebacker [Ray Lewis]That was quite good, I thought. So, hopefully I can just add to that and fill those shoes.”