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Baltimore Ravens safety Kyle Hamilton poised for breakout year with expanded role in 2023

2MACY75 Baltimore Ravens safety Kyle Hamilton during an NFL football game against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium, Sunday, Sunday, Sept. 24, 2022 in Foxborough, Mass. (Winslow Townson/AP Images for Panini)

  • Early struggles: Playing in a free safety role hurt Kyle Hamilton‘s ability to contribute, but once he aligned closer to the box, his blue-chip talent became apparent and he started to thrive in the Baltimore Ravens defense.
  • Closer to the action: Bringing Hamilton closer to the line of scrimmage also allowed him to be more involved in run defense and as a pass-rusher. He finished his rookie year with an 87.7 PFF run defense grade, which ranked eighth among all safeties, and was tied for 14th at the position in registering eight total pressures.
  • 2023 role: Allowing Hamilton to have a similar alignment breakdown to the Los Angeles ChargersDerwin James would make sense, as James spent 530 of his 909 snaps in the box/slot. That would allow the Ravens to utilize Hamilton in the slot against tight ends and bigger receivers while attacking downhill against shorter routes.
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

There were some rough moments in the summer and early fall, but by the end of the 2022 season, Kyle Hamilton was one of the most dangerous defensive backs in football.

When the Baltimore Ravens selected Hamilton with the 14th overall selection in the 2022 NFL Draft, it was a move immediately met with acclaim, as the team once again landed another steal in the draft. Because Hamilton was the eighth-highest-ranked prospect on PFF’s final 2022 big board, the only eyebrow-raising part of the selection was that the team had already invested heavily in the position in free agency, adding veteran Marcus Williams.

Then came the summer, and a clip of a bad practice rep had countless social media accounts labeling him “stiff.” Those calls only increased after the Ravens' Week 2 game against the Miami Dolphins, where Hamilton was involved in a huge coverage bust that allowed the Dolphins to mount a comeback and take down the Ravens. That led to Hamilton’s role decreasing, as the former Notre Dame standout played just 46 snaps over the next three weeks.

As the season rolled on, he started to see more time on the field, but this time his role had changed. After seeing 45 snaps as a free safety in the first two weeks of the season, he spent just 47 in that role the rest of the year. Instead, the bulk of his work came in the box or in the slot, and it’s here where Hamilton began to thrive.


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