Damar Hamlin NFL Draft Overview
Weight: 201 pounds
School: Pittsburgh Panthers
Damar Hamlin 2021 NFL Draft Profile
Every year, a player slips under the draft radar yet makes an impact when selected. This year, it could be Pittsburgh’s Damar Hamlin. Usually, a safety has the ability to deliver a bone-crushing hit or intercept a pass to seal a game. While Hamlin isn’t what many envision as a safety, he does have traits that make him draftable. Also, he did show in college that he brings value. Sure, others from his school will generate buzz on draft day, but maybe Hamlin could be the one that ends up outperforming them. After all, the NFL Draft can be unpredictable.
A four-star recruit out of Pittsburgh’s Central Catholic, Hamlin chose to play for the Panthers over other schools, including Ohio State and Penn State. Though he came to Pittsburgh as a cornerback, he moved to safety, and the move paid immediate dividends, something that the great Charlie Waters did for the Dallas Cowboys. While he didn’t rack up many interceptions in his career, with just six overall, Hamlin was a prominent tackler, racking up 66 of them in 2020 and 290 overall over a five-year period. 194 of the tackles were solo tackles. In other words, if someone has the ball, he’s likely to take them down.
- A strong instinct for the ball;
- Does not make mental mistakes;
- Quick feet to burst off the line;
- Great at defending the run;
- High Productivity;
- Very physical.
- Needs to improve ball skills;
- Somewhat average speed;
- Struggles with the jump ball;
- Likely to play as a hybrid linebacker instead of safety;
- Lacks consistent explosiveness.
NFL Comparison: Jordan Whitehead
Teams with at position: Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Chicago Bears, Jacksonville Jaguars, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, Philadelphia Eagles
Projection: Fourth or fifth round
Damar Hamlin has a high level of aggression that teams will covet but will need to polish before placing him on the field. While he will make immediate contributions in the run game, Hamlin will have to refine his ball-hawking skills to keep up with the quarterbacks in the league. Also, being inconsistent in coverage is concerning given how the run game is often abandoned by several teams in the league in favor of the pass. In his defense, he does have the length to be a productive safety in the NFL, and more often than not, teams will use aggressive players in the secondary in an attempt to slow down the opposing offense.
Hamlin’s best shot is to start as the gunner on special teams and will likely be there for the first few years of his career until he can sharpen his skills in coverage. In his defense, he can find a role on the field in run situations and maybe even on third-down when a team uses an extra defensive back in their pass rush. His senior bowl performance is enough to warrant a selection and investment, at least.
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