NFL News & Analysis

Doug Kyed's Pre-Draft Mailbag: Why Kyle Hamilton is falling, potential Deebo Samuel trades and more

Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel (19) during warmups before the game against the Atlanta Falcons at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

The 2022 NFL Draft is officially less than a week away. NFL fans have questions about why players are falling, potential Deebo Samuel trades, the Miami Dolphins’ potential and more.

Read on for answers.

@adamxdangelo: Have the dolphins made enough off-season moves to make them legit contenders in the AFC East and beyond? #PFFMailbag

Just in terms of which team has improved its roster the most this offseason, the Dolphins have to be near the top of the list. I know they gave up a lot for Tyreek Hill, and they’re paying Terron Armstead a lot of money, but at least they invested heavily in premium positions such as wide receiver and offensive tackle. They also extended cornerback Xavien Howard, keeping another top player at a premium position in Miami, and filled out the rest of Mike McDaniel’s offense with running backs Chase Edmonds and Raheem Mostert, fullback Alec Ingold, wide receivers Cedrick Wilson and Trent Sherfield and guard Connor Williams. Every move might not turn out to be a home run, and perhaps they overpaid at times, but at least the Dolphins seemed to have a vision and a strategy for the offseason.

I thought adding Teddy Bridgewater on a one-year deal was a pretty smart signing in case Tua Tagovailoa doesn’t take the next step this offseason, as well. That’s ultimately what will decide whether the Dolphins are legit contenders or not: Tua’s performance. I’m not ultimately convinced he’s ready, and I think the Dolphins could really be AFC contenders in 2023 if they can really sign quarterback Tom Brady, who will be a free agent after the season. It helps that it appears they had a great draft in 2021, picking up wide receiver Jaylen Waddle, edge defender Jaelan Phillips and safety Jevon Holland. The Dolphins appear on track to be much better in 2022, but they might be another year removed from being true contenders.

@GBP4EVER: I think the talk of GB being interested in Deebo is media clickbait. Packers only have 14 million in cap & after draft and cap cushion for season not enough left. I think GB stands pat & drafts WR. #PFFMailbag

It very well could be, but the Green Bay Packers’ current cap space doesn’t really factor into whether trading for a player such as San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel is feasible. Samuel would carry a just $3.986 million cap hit after a trade. If he received the exact same contract extension as Tyreek Hill that came with a $25 million signing bonus, it would only add $5 million to his 2022 cap hit as a bonus proration. Extending cornerback Jaire Alexander alone would give the Packers plenty of cap space to sign their draft class and give themselves a cap cushion for the 2022 season.

The bigger question is whether the 49ers would trade Samuel to an NFC contender and if Samuel would want to play in Green Bay. Monetarily, though, it’s entirely possible for 2022.

@KyleBratzel: What’s the buzz around Nick Cross a week out?

Maryland safety Nick Cross is a really intriguing draft prospect, and his likely draft range is somewhere early on Day 2. Cross is still only 20 years old, however, and he’s one of the best athletes from a testing perspective in the entire draft. At 6-feet, 212 pounds, he ran a 4.34-second 40-yard dash with a 1.46-second 10-yard split, 6.85-second three-cone drill, 4.21-second short shuttle, 37-inch vertical leap, 10-foot, 10-inch broad jump and 21 bench press reps of 225 pounds. He has strong safety size to go with free safety speed and athleticism.

He graded out best as a freshman in 2019 with an 81.4 score while primarily playing free safety. He took on more of a versatile role in 2021 and earned a 67.7 grade as a junior. Move him back to free safety, and he could wind up being one of the higher upside players in the draft.

@jbooks_23: Can Davante Parker finish as a FF WR2 in NE with Mac Jones?

I’d be very surprised since I expect the New England Patriots to spread the ball around again in 2022. They have four startable wide receivers in DeVante Parker, Jakobi Meyers, Kendrick Bourne and Nelson Agholor and two high-paid tight ends in Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith. You know running backs Damien Harris, Rhamondre Stevenson and James White will be involved in the passing game as well.

So, I just can’t see Parker getting the target share or volume needed to be a WR2 in fantasy unless his touchdown numbers were astronomical.

@fff51135641: Would the number 8 pick for Deebo be not enough, just right, or an overpay for a trade (pick from Atlanta)?

I think that would be an overpay since the Atlanta Falcons would then also need to extend Samuel on a market contract.

I’m not sure what a Falcons deal would look like for Samuel. Maybe something like a 2023 first-round pick and 2022 second?

@barkenwoofen: Why is Walker so highly touted when he was on THAT d line with THAT secondary?

Teams obviously value athleticism, and Georgia edge defender Travon Walker was an elite tester with a 9.99 relative athletic score out of 10.

Michigan edge defender Aidan Hutchinson scored a 9.88 RAS, so ultimately, both players are among the most athletic players at their position.

Hutchinson earned a 94.5 PFF grade in 2021 and registered a 25 percent pass-rush win rate. Walker earned a 70.5 PFF grade and registered a 10.1 percent pass-rush win rate. So, if the Jaguars take Walker over Hutchinson, it’s much more potential- and upside-based.

@Mic_wrecka11: Do you agree with me that if Cross, Neal or Icky doesn't fall to the Panthers at 6 that they must trade down to the teens and net a 2nd round pick.

I could see the Carolina Panthers trading down from No. 6 overall even if Evan Neal, Ickey Ekwonu or Charles Cross are there. I think the New York Jets are a team to watch to trade up from No. 10 overall.

The Panthers, who don’t have second- or third-round picks, could pick up much-needed draft capital and still fill their need on the offensive line with a player such as Northern Iowa’s Trevor Penning.

@mcgeemattt: What’s the real reason behind the significant draft stock drop for Kyle Hamilton? A day one game changer for any team.

I’m not sure, but if I would have to guess, it would come down to testing and positional value. Teams still value 40-yard dash speed, and Hamilton ran a 4.59-second 40-yard dash at the NFL scouting combine and a 4.70-second 40 at his pro day. He still earned a 9.33 RAS thanks to his size and explosion (38-inch vertical leap, 10-foot, 11-inch broad jump) metrics.

Obviously, his 40 time is not enough to remove a player from a draft board or anything, but it might give a team second thoughts if they’re thinking about spending a top-five pick.

@Idlematt: Why is Linderbaum falling as far as the end of the 1st round? I know positional bias etc. plays a role, but surely he is too good to drop out of the top 10?

Iowa center Tyler Linderbaum is a fantastic player, and he, unlike Hamilton, tested exceptionally well. His 7.13-second three-cone ranks in the 100th percentile among centers. His 5.04-second 40-yard dash, 33-inch vertical leap and 9-foot, 2-inch broad jump rank in the 86th percentile or better.

However, he’s only 6-foot-2 (17th percentile), 302 pounds (41st percentile) with 31 1/8-inch arms (seventh percentile) and might not fit in all offensive schemes. There’s also the potential element that teams believe smaller, athletic centers that specialize in zone-blocking schemes ultimately aren’t that difficult to find.

A team might decide they don’t care. Linderbaum could wind up being a perennial All-Pro, and that could be enough to take him in the top 10, but size and positional value matter.

@osgunner1: What will the saints do with two 1st round picks?

I would guess they’ll trade them to move up to take an offensive tackle. Maybe move up to No. 5 overall with a trade with a New York Giants to take Cross?

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