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2022 NFL Draft Odds: When Will Kyle Hamilton Be Selected?

Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton is one of the most talented and highly graded prospects in the entire 2022 draft class. But will his position ultimately keep him from being selected as high as he should?
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2022 NFL Draft Odds: When Will Kyle Hamilton Be Selected?

Being a first overall selection, or even a top-two or -five draft pick is an honor for any player, and typically it means a higher contract number off the bat. Going in the top six? That's not as much of a distinction, but over at FanDuel Sportsbook it means a lot if you're betting on the talent and draft value of Kyle Hamilton. After all, the over/under on the talented safety's pick number is set at 6.5, meaning if you go with the under and he's picked anywhere up to the sixth pick you're a winner -- at -114 odds. At the same odds, if you bet the over and he's picked seventh or beyond you're a winner at a payout of just under $88 on a $100 wager.

At first glance, I might seem like an odd pick line, if you're like me and have been sifting through big board after big board of the draft's top-rated players. For months now, Hamilton has been a top-five guy on Mel Kiper's list, and -- among others -- Tankathon has him ranked fourth and Pro Football Focus second in their latest updates. At PFF, the Notre Dame product trails only Michigan defensive lineman Aidan Hutchinson, who is a virtual lock to be the top pick to Jacksonville when the draft festivities get underway. Even if Hamilton were to go third, that sounds like value, doesn't it?

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2022 NFL Draft Odds

Positional Value

The issue is Hamilton's position -- safety. If you study anything around the NFL, whether it's fantasy rankings, the biggest contracts or highest-rated players in Madden, you know that position value and scarcity trumps a player's talent at their position. Just for a snapshot perspective, Tyrann Mathieu is rated as a 95 as the top safety in Madden, but there are three quarterbacks, two left tackles (protectors of those quarterbacks), two cornerbacks and two defensive ends rated as high if not higher. Essentially, on the field and in the minds of NFL owners and GMs, it works the same.

It's for this reason we see Hutchinson and fellow defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux, as well as offensive tackles Charles Cross and Evan Neal near the top of mock drafts. And the same goes for the top two corners, Derek Stingley and Ahmad Gardner. It's hard for Hamilton to wedge his way into a top-six spot with all these tremendously valued positions -- outside of quarterback -- vying for those same spots.

Is He Worth It?

The question becomes, has Hamilton proven himself talented enough to make as big of a difference from his safety spot? This past season, in Hamilton's junior year, his Notre Dame defense ranked 11th in the country, according to Football Outsiders. They were 15th in scoring defense, and on their way to that accomplishment, their star safety posted a 76.1 PFF grade. He allowed 14 catches on 28 targets thrown his way, not to mention three interceptions to a single touchdown.

It's not just Hamilton's college production and tape that makes him such an intriguing prospect, though. At 6'4", he runs a 4.59 40-yard dash and has a 38-inch vertical jump. And though many have pointed to the flaw that is his short-area quickness, Hamilton's frame and ability to cover larger areas of ground with his long strides make him a tight end's nightmare over the middle and down the field. In an age dominated by Travis Kelce, Darren Waller and George Kittle, he's expected to be a day-one starter because of that erase-ability.

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Over or Under?

Even if we know all the positives and negatives, it all really comes down to whether a team in the top six is in need of a safety like Hamilton. Those teams are the Jacksonville Jaguars, Detroit Lions, Houston Texans, New York Jets, New York Giants and Carolina Panthers.

Now, let's assume the Jaguars are taking Hutchinson (or an offensive tackle) and are out of the equation. That leaves five teams, three of which (Jets, Lions and Texans) ranked in the bottom 10 in total defense last year. Two of those -- the Jets and Lions -- ranked in the bottom six in pass DVOA. The Jets just recently lost safety Marcus Maye in free agency, and while the Lions re-signed Tracy Walker a year ago, they could pair the two in whichever combination they like. When you couple that with the fact that, unlike the Lions, the Jets might watch a pair of top tackles, or a tackle and a corner go ahead of them, they might have Hamilton sitting there as the top player on their team draft board anyway.

All signs point to Hamilton being selected by pick 4 or 5. It just makes too much sense for the most-hyped defensive player not named Aidan Hutchinson. It would be wise to go with the under here and then pray that a big-time trade doesn't shake up the draft order at the top.

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Brett Oswalt has been writing about sports for five years, has covered everything from the NBA to College Football DFS, and previously served as an editor at numberFire. He is a Senior Workforce Planning Analyst at Highmark by day, and an avid sports fan and girl-dad by night. He resides in Pittsburgh, PA with his wife, Marley, daughter, Aria, and goldendoodle, Braun.

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