Any opinions expressed in this article do not reflect those of the team.
In just a few days, college football's top prospects will be at Lucas Oil Stadium for the 2022 Scouting Combine.
The event, which was canceled last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, will be one of the best opportunities for players to get noticed by scouts and improve their stock, and with more than 300 athletes getting ready to converge on Indianapolis, it's time to get more acquainted with them.
Commanders.com has been taking a dive into each position to see what they have to offer. Here are the positions we've looked at so far:
Next up are the defensive backs.
The top prospect (according to ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr.): Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame
You won't find much to dislike about Notre Dame's Kyle Hamilton. He has a solid 6-foot-4, 220-pound frame who can move in the open field, has a knack for batting down passes and recorded 138 tackles in the previous three seasons.
Kiper calls Hamilton "exactly what NFL teams want in their first-round safeties." NFL.com's Lance Zierlein has a more unique description of the All-American: he's a unicorn at the position.
"It's rare to find such a ferocious striker and intimidator who has the football intelligence and athletic prowess to go make plays in the passing game, but Hamilton provides it all," Zierlein wrote.
Hamilton only played in seven games last year because of a knee injury, but that was more than enough to show that he's one of the best players available in this year's class. And if anyone needs convincing, consider this, he only allowed one touchdown in his entire career with the fighting Irish.
Looking to improve their stock: Roger McCreary, CB, Auburn
If teams are looking for an exceptional press-man cornerback, they won't find many better than Auburn's Roger McCreary.
Nevermind the fact that some analysts have pointed out that McCreary's arm length is a little shorter than some would want. His ability to bat passes away stood out throughout his career with 32 deflections in that span. He got 14 in 2021, which was fourth in the country. He was targeted 74 times, according to Pro Football Focus, and only allowed 34 catches.
McCreary does have some issues with his mechanics to work out, and PFF views him as a second-round pick. Still, if he finds the right team that can use him properly, he could contribute immediately in some packages.
Most intriguing: Daxton Hill, S, Michigan
Kiper only has one safety (Hamilton) in his Top 25. You'll have to go all the way down to No. 37 to find the next one: Michigan's Daxton Hill. That would put him just out of the first round, but some people like Zierlein see plenty of potential in the first team All-Big Ten selection.
"Hill is a smooth, twitchy athlete who is unencumbered in his coverage movements," Zierlein wrote. "He's rangy playing over the top, has the eyes and burst to play zone, and the oily hips and length to shade bigger slots in man coverage."
Hill wasn't the best in any category, but he did show promise in several. He had 69 tackles, two interceptions and eight pass breakups in 2021. He's been on PFF's watch list for a while, as they named him as one of the most valuable Big Ten freshman in 2019.
"Hill may be the only player who can challenge [LSU cornerback Derek] Stingley's status as the top athlete in this class,"wrote PFF's Anthony Traesh.
Full list of prospects
- Tycen Anderson, Toledo
- Jalyn Armour-Davis, Alabama
- Kalon Barnes, Baylor
- Markquese Bell, Florida A&M
- Dane Belton, Iowa
- Bubba Bolden, Miami
- Andrew Booth, Clemson
- Jaquan Brisker, Penn State
- Montaric Brown, Arkansas
- Coby Bryant, Cincinnati
- Percy Butler, Louisiana
- Tariq Castro-Fields, Penn State
- Lewis Cine, Georgia
- Qwynnterrio Cole, Louisville
- Bryan Cook, Cincinnati
- Yusuf Corker, Kentucky
- Nick Cross, Maryland
- Cobie Durant, South Carolina State
- Kaiir Elam, Florida
- MJ Emerson, Mississippi State
- Akayleb Evans, Missouri
- DaMarcus Fields, Texas Tech
- Cordale Flott, LSU
- Sauce Gardner, Cincinnati
- Mario Goodrich, Clemson
- Kyler Gordon, Washington
- Vincent Gray, Michigan
- Kyle Hamilton, Notre Dame
- Kolby Harvell-Peel, Oklahoma State
- Dax Hill, Michigan
- Joshua Jobe, Alabama
- Jack Jones, Arizona State
- Marcus Jones, Houston
- Kerby Joseph, Illinois
- Derion Kendrick, Georgia
- Quentin Lake, UCLA
- Chase Lucas, Arizona State
- Damarri Mathis, Pittsburgh
- Zyon McCollum, Sam Houston State
- Roger McCreary, Auburn
- Trent McDuffie, Washington
- Verone McKinley III, Oregon
- Smoke Monday, Auburn
- Leon O'Neal, Texas A&M
- Jalen Pitre, Baylor
- Chris Steele, USC
- Derek Stingley Jr., LSU
- Alontae Taylor, Tennessee
- Cam Taylor-Britt, Nebraska
- Isaac Taylor-Stuart, USC
- Juanyeh Thomas, Georgia Tech
- Josh Thompson, Texas
- Delarrin Turner-Yell, Oklahoma
- Jermaine Waller, Virginia Tech
- Jaylen Watson, Washington State
- Sam Webb, Missouri Western State
- Damarion Williams, Houston
- Joshua Williams, Fayetteville State
- JT Woods, Baylor
- Tariq Woolen, UTSA
- Mykael Wright, Oregon