For some, myself included, Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton is the top prospect in the 2022 NFL Draft. Given that he is a safety, however, you’re not likely to find him atop many — if any — 2022 NFL Mock Drafts. With positional value impacting his NFL Draft stock, where are some of Hamilton’s consensus landing spots across the 2022 NFL Mock Draft landscape?
Note: If you’re looking for a full one-round mock draft with analysis for all 32 selections in the first round, head on over to our latest mock published on March 4, 2022, where Garrett Wilson and Malik Willis headline mid-Combine indulgences.
NFL Mock Draft 2022: PFN’s top consensus landing spots
A freak. A unicorn. The best safety prospect since Derwin James. These are just a few of the superlatives attached to Hamilton. He’s a size/speed/strength weapon in the secondary whose ability to impact all facets of the game is a product of exceptional athleticism combined with impressive football IQ. Which team is going to benefit according to Pro Football Network’s 2022 NFL Mock Drafts?
In his latest effort for PFN, Joe Broback has the Notre Dame safety taking flight with the New York Jets. While selecting a safety this early has proven unpopular with Jets fans before, there’s no doubt Hamilton would immediately upgrade a secondary that is lacking a game-changing presence. With Marcus Maye a pending free agent, Hamilton makes sense as an instant replacement in this 2022 NFL Mock Draft.
The Jets are a popular landing spot for Hamilton amongst PFN staff. PFN Draft Analyst Ian Cummings places the playmaking safety in New York in his latest 7-Round 2022 NFL Mock Draft. As Cummings points out: “Hamilton isn’t your average safety. He’s an elite athlete at 6’4″, 220 pounds, with eye-popping range on the back end and the versatility to line up all across the secondary. The Jets need this kind of player.”
Meanwhile, Hamilton wasn’t even available for the Jets in my latest 4-Round 2022 NFL Mock Draft. The Notre Dame safety is the perfect solution to the problem that is the Houston Texans. With so many holes to fill on their roster, the Texans should simply take the best player available — and that is Hamilton. With a renowned defensive coach at the helm in Lovie Smith, they can build a bully from back to front.
Where does Kyle Hamilton land on other draft boards?
As mentioned in the introduction, Hamilton is the No. 1 prospect for many NFL Draft analysts. Furthermore, it’s a rare sight to see him slide out of the top 10 in PFN 2022 NFL Mock Drafts despite positional value being a potential stumbling block for his stock. But how does the rest of the football community view the Notre Dame star?
Well, ESPN Draft Analyst Todd McShay shares my opinion that Hamilton and the Texans make for a good partnership. As McShay points out during his recent mock draft: “GM Nick Caserio needs foundational stars in this Texans rebuild, and Hamilton has the versatility to impact multiple areas of new coach Lovie Smith’s defense.”
Meanwhile, McShay’s colleague Mel Kiper Jr. agrees with Broback and Cummings’ assessment that the Jets are a prime landing spot for the Notre Dame playmaker. Alluding to Hamilton’s positional value, Kiper comments: “No, this is not too high to take a safety. Not a safety like Hamilton, who can make a massive impact against the run and pass.”
As you can see, there’s a common theme from 2022 NFL mock drafts where Hamilton is concerned. He’s an easy evaluation and comfortably one of the top talents in the class. That said, positional value has to be taken into consideration. As such, it’s almost impossible to imagine that he’ll be the first prospect off the board in April.
Will Hamilton’s draft stock change after his NFL Combine performance?
In short, no. It feels unlikely that anything that Hamilton does or doesn’t do at the 2022 NFL Combine will alter his stock greatly either way. Currently, the Notre Dame safety is the No. 3 prospect on Pro Football Network’s Top 300 Big Board. Impressive athletic testing won’t surprise anyone or catapult him into first place above Kayvon Thibodeaux unless the Oregon superstar has a particularly lackluster performance.
The most significant aspect of Hamilton’s week in Indianapolis will be the medical tests. Although it was reported that he would have been fit to play in the College Football Playoff if Notre Dame had advanced that far, Hamilton hasn’t seen the field since suffering a knee injury against USC.
Looking for a full one-round 2022 NFL Mock Draft?
After witnessing some impressive 40-yard dash times and some less-than-impressive accuracy at the NFL Combine, we mocked the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft for fun. Here’s our mid-Combine first round of a 2022 NFL Mock Draft.