The opinions expressed in this article do not reflect those of the team.
It's the start of the third season in the Ron Rivera era, and the Washington Commanders have a pristine opportunity to strengthen their roster.
In his first season as Washington's head coach, Rivera took Chase Young, who became the 2020 Defensive Rookie of the Year, with the No. 2 overall pick. The next season, he drafted Jamin Davis with the No. 19 overall pick, and the former Kentucky Wildcat showed promise in his first season.
Now, the Commanders have the No. 11 overall pick, and analysts are predicting them to go with a plethora of positions, from linebacker to safety and quarterback, at that spot.
In anticipation for that selection, Commanders.com will highlight one mock draft from a draft expert each week and delve into how that player would fit with Washington. Here are the players covered in previous weeks:
For the final edition of Mock Draft Monday, we're taking a look at who NFL Network's Bucky Brooks believes the Commanders will take their Mock Draft Live, which aired April 24.
Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame
There's always a modicum of calculated risks during the NFL Draft. Coaches and scouts spend months looking through film and talking to prospects to find the right fits for their team, but investing in a player, particularly one in the first round, comes with a gamble that the pick will work out and be a long term contributor.
But from the perspective of several draft analysts, there isn't much risk when it comes to taking Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton in the top half of the draft.
Hamilton, a two-time All-American, has something for everyone when it comes to his skill set. He has a high football I.Q. and knows how to use it; he has exceptional closing speed; and he's been called "a cheat code" defending the run. All those traits have been pointed out time and time again by experts.
The consensus is that Hamilton is one of, if not the the best safety the 2022 draft class has to offer. And in his latest mock draft, NFL's Daniel Jeremiah has the All-American falling to the Commanders. That's why Bucky Brooks took him in the NFL Network's Mock Draft Live.
"This is a guy who always wanted to be Sean Taylor," Brooks said. "He doesn't give them exactly what Sean Taylor did, but he certainly would be the best safety we've seen play there in years. Jack Del Rio and Ron Rivera will have a lot of fun finding ways to keep Kyle Hamilton in the mix."
There are several things to like about Hamilton, from his versatility to his competitive nature and willingness to provide run support. The only knock against him has been his 40-yard dash time at the Scouting Combine, which was a 4.59.
But 40 times are hardly an indicator of whether a prospect will have a successful NFL career, and there are several other factors surrounding Hamilton that support him being an impactful player.
Let's start with the fact that he only allowed one touchdown in his career at Notre Dame, according to PFF. Over the course of his three seasons, he earned a 91.5 cover grade from PFF, which is third among all Power 5 safeties.
Prior to the 2021 season, Hamilton had 15 combined pass breakups and interceptions.
"Hamilton has the eyes and speed to play over the top, the strength and toughness to play near the line, and coverage length to guard elite pass-catching tight ends who often mismatch opposing defenses," wrote NFL.com's Lance Zierlein, who compared Hamilton to Kam Chancellor.
Hamilton's length -- he has 33-inch arms, according to his Combine metrics -- is part of what allows him to be so successful in coverage. Length makes up for so many things, said former Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly. If Hamilton did find himself a step or two behind receivers, he still has the reach to knock the ball down.
"He's in so many windows in the passing game that he disrupts throws and timing," Kelly said. "He's a unique player, and a lot of that is by virtue of his athleticism and his size and length that I've never had a player that plays that particular position…and plays it at such a high level."
In terms of tackling, Hamilton stands out in that area as well. He was among the Fighting Irish's top tacklers in two of his three seasons, including the 2020 season, during which he led the team with 63 stops.
"Wrap up, alligator roll, chopping, you name it," wrote The Draft Network's Kyle Crabbs. "I was impressed with his willingness to strike big at the catch point but, more importantly, the tastefulness he brought to it to avoid penalties."
In the eight games that he watched from Hamilton's career, Crabbs noted that he excels at filling gaps from several positions, especially from the perimeter.
"He's swift to drive and attack blocks, beating them to the spot and then uncovering to square up the ball-carrier."
Jeremiah gets it. He knows that people are going to look at Hamilton's 40 time, and perhaps that will cause him to fall a bit in the draft. Even though he has the Commanders grabbing him with the 11th pick, Jeremiah has Hamilton graded much higher. It's about positional value, and from Jeremiah's perspective, there aren't many players who bring as much as Hamilton.
"It's a no-brainer pick here for Washington," Jeremiah said.