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2022 SB Nation Mock Draft: BRB Continues Texans’ Rebuild With ‘Unicorn’ Prospect Kyle Hamilton At No. 3

The Texans select a cornerstone defensive piece in SB Nation’s community mock draft with No. 3 pick overall.

Notre Dame Safety Kyle Hamilton
Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

With the No. 3 overall selection in the 2022 SB Nation NFL Community Mock Draft, the Houston Texans select the talented safety out of Notre Dame, Kyle Hamilton. If the Texans do select Hamilton this year, he will be only the third safety taken in the top five of a draft in the 21st century.

Houston is in need of as many roster-solidifying moves as the team can get. With this pick, the Texans lean into the strategy of taking the best player available by landing what some consider to be this year’s top prospect.

There is speculation that a team might not be willing to invest in a “less impactful position” (safety) so highly in the draft, but Hamilton’s rare blend of size, skill, intangibles, and scheme versatility make him a valuable selection that the Texans can consider a foundational cornerstone piece for a team looking to rebuild.

Measurables And Combine:

Take a look at Hamilton’s measurables and it becomes clear that he is not your standard defensive back. Hamilton sizes up at 6-4, 220 pounds with 33-inch arms and 9 ½” hands and has been labeled by some as a “unicorn” prospect, denoting his rarity.

At this year’s NFL Combine, Hamilton failed to blow scouts and analysts out of the water with his performances in some facets of the workout, but his 4.59 40-yard dash, 38’ vertical jump, and 10’11” broad jump put his explosiveness and athleticism squarely on display.

Versatility and Production:

In today’s NFL, offense is king. The more a young player can be utilized in Bill Bellichick-ian fashion with positional versatility, the more that player’s team has a chance to slow down the game-breaking athletes who can line up all over the formation for its opponents.

Hamilton spent time lining up in multiple spots on Notre Dame’s defense in his three years at South Bend. In 31 career games, he produced 139 tackles, eight interceptions, and 16 passes defended. He covered slot receivers, lined up as a deep “read and react” safety, came off the edge as a rusher at the line of scrimmage, and showed his hard-hitting demeanor while working out of the box as well.

In Lovie Smith’s base Tampa-2 defense, Hamilton’s versatility means he can start on Day 1. Whether that start happens as one of two “high” safeties responsible for covering half of the field on any given pass play, or as a key piece in the run game who can crash on the ball from the box remains to be seen.

Intangibles:

With the long-looming Deshaun Watson trade completed, former head coach David Culley fired, and a tenured defensive-minded head coach hired in Lovie Smith, the Texans can finally turn their full attention to rebuilding their roster with their litany of draft assets over the coming years. A key to any rebuild is finding young players who aren’t only talented, but help create a culture of winning and accountability in the locker room. Hamilton checks the box here with a strong case of leadership and winning culture.

During his junior season, Hamilton was the captain of a Fighting Irish team that ranked Top 10 nationally in scoring defense and finished with a record of 11-2. In fact, while at Notre Dame, Hamilton’s team amassed only six total losses in three years. One of those losses came against subsequently crowned National Champions Alabama in the semifinals of the 2020-21 College Football Playoffs.

Outside of football, Hamilton’s pedigree may be the stuff of legends. Born in Heraklion, Greece, to professional basketball player Derrick Hamilton, the 21-year-old boasts not only a family heritage of professional sports, but a heroic geographical significance for where he was born. Heraklion is the capital of the Greek island Crete, which in mythology is the birthplace of many gods, goddesses, and warriors, including the big guy himself: Zeus.

Only time will tell if Hamilton can measure up to the divine standards of his birthplace, but his legacy as a professional athlete starts in Houston.

Top Players Remaining:

  • Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU
  • Charles Cross, T, Mississippi State
  • Ikem Ekwonu, T, NC State
  • Evan Neal, T, Alabama
  • Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington

*Sean Taylor (Washington, 2004), Eric Berry (Kansas City, 2010)