The Ravens took Notre Dame’s Kyle Hamilton with the No. 14 overall pick Thursday night, adding a playmaking safety in a mild first-round surprise.
Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta called Hamilton the best safety prospect in the NFL draft.
“I’m very excited to be in Baltimore,” Hamilton said. “[They’re] one of the best organizations in the league, and to be able to play for a team like that from the start, I’m excited. They hope to win a Super Bowl this year. Hopefully, I can add to that mission, and we can complete that.”
DeCosta called Hamilton “a very, very smart football player” with great range and “tremendous physical skills, measurables.”
“Great makeup, pedigree, productive, tough and physical. He can do a myriad of different things for us. And never dreamed in a million years that he would be there,” the general manager said. “Reminds me of some of the old drafts with Ozzie [Newsome], where it just seemed like, in the early days, good players would just fall down the board to us. It kind of felt that way. And it was a no-brainer for us, really.”
After a flurry of trades, the Ravens had the option of grabbing a handful of players linked to them at No. 14, including Florida State edge rusher Jermaine Johnson II, Washington cornerback Trent McDuffie and Northern Iowa offensive tackle Trevor Penning.
Instead, they went with Hamilton, one of the most talented players in the draft, whose stock slipped after a disappointing NFL scouting combine performance.
“In terms of falling, or whatever, or sliding, like people say, you never really know going into the Draft whether somebody is falling or sliding,” Hamilton said. “They just … they go where they’re supposed to go. So, I feel like I just went to the right team at the end of the day. Ten years later, I’ll be looking back at this glad that I came to the Ravens.”
Along with top free-agent signing Marcus Williams, a playmaker at safety, Hamilton will be expected to lift a pass defense that finished last in the NFL last year, giving up 278.9 yards per game. The Ravens also return starter Chuck Clark and defensive back Brandon Stephens, who emerged as a valuable chess piece late last season.
“I think he can play in space. We would not have drafted him if he couldn’t play in space,” DeCosta said of Hamilton. “I mean, a safety has to play …read more
Source:: The Mercury News