Kyle Hamilton Is 'Perfect Fit' for Ravens, Pundit's Pick for Defensive Rookie of the Year
The pundits continue to rave about the Ravens' selection of safety Kyle Hamilton with the 14th-overall selection.
"Good Morning Football's" Peter Schrager and NFL.com’s Bucky Brooks both referred to the former Notre Dame standout as a "perfect fit" for the Ravens.
"He is a Raven through and through. If you [ask] me what teams does Kyle Hamilton fit the most, it's the Ravens' mantra of being a hard-hitting, smart player," Schrager said. "If this draft was in 1997, he's a top five pick. If this draft is in 2007, he's a top five pick. In 2022 because of the safety position and how it's looked at, he falls to the teens. What an unbelievable value. I can't wait to see him in that Ravens' uniform. He's going to be amazing."
Brooks wrote: "Hamilton's size (6-4, 220 pounds), versatility and play-making skills could prompt the Ravens to utilize more three-safety looks, with [Marcus] Williams, Hamilton and Chuck Clark spending time together on the field in a variety of sub-packages. Considering how the Chargers' Derwin James and other versatile defenders are making their mark as super-sized box safeties, it's possible the Ravens landed the league's next defensive superstar — and they didn't even have to move around the board to get him."
Meanwhile, ESPN's Matt Miller said Hamilton is guaranteed to be an NFL star and picked him to win Defensive Rookie of the Year.
"I can't stress enough how great the fit is for him in Baltimore," Miller wrote. "While the rookie of the year is often times someone dominating the stat sheet in sacks, Hamilton has the tools to impact the stat sheet in tackles, interceptions, passes defensed and sacks.
NFL.com’s Adam Schein said Hamilton has "game-changing, All-Pro potential."
"I was obsessed with Kyle Hamilton throughout this entire process.," Schein wrote. "Freaking out about a 4.59 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine was shortsighted. The Ravens predictably kept their wits about them, happily scooping up the Notre Dame product at No. 14 overall. In a passing league, Baltimore continues to wisely put a premium on defensive backs."
Ravens' Wide Receiver Group Is Last in Post-Draft Rankings
As evidenced by the high draft grades across the board the Ravens have received from analysts, there are plenty of reasons to feel good about what they accomplished over the weekend.
If there is one criticism it's that the Ravens came out of the draft weaker at wide receiver after granting Marquise "Hollywood" Brown's trade request and the fact that they did not draft a wide receiver (although not for lacking of trying, General Manager Eric DeCosta said).
Baltimore's wide receiver corps is ranked last in the league in ESPN’s Mike Clay’s post-draft unit grades, and PFF’s Ben Linsey identified the group as the least improved unit coming out of the draft.
"The team got a good return for Marquise Brown by selecting center Tyler Linderbaum with the extra first-rounder, but the Ravens' current wide receiver group — headlined by Rashod Bateman, Devin Duvernay, Tylan Wallace and James Proche — leaves a lot to be desired," Linsey wrote. "Baltimore did add two receiving threats at tight end on Day 3 in Iowa State's Charlie Kolar and Coastal Carolina's Isaiah Likely, but it still looks like the Ravens are going to have to lean heavily on Mark Andrews in 2022 unless they plan to sign more help in free agency."
Who replaces Brown, who had 91 catches for 1,008 yards and six touchdowns last season, is now the biggest offseason question for the Ravens, ESPN’s Jamison Hensley said.
"With Brown gone, none of the six wide receivers on the roster have more than 53 career catches," Hensley wrote. "The Ravens can sign a free agent, such as Will Fuller V, who can stretch the field like Brown, or trade for one. Even if Rashod Bateman fills the No. 1 role as expected, Baltimore needs a more proven second option for Lamar Jackson on the outside."
Fuller is an intriguing potential option. The 27-year-old has undeniable talent, but he's had difficulty staying on the field. After signing a one-year, $10 million deal with the Miami Dolphins last season, Fuller missed 15 games due to a PED suspension, broken finger and personal issue. He has played more than 11 games just once in his six year-career, and that was in his rookie season.
The South Florida Sun-Sentinel's Omar Kelly floated the possibility of the Ravens having interest in former Cleveland Browns wide receiver Jarvis Landry.
However, Landry turns 30 this season and is coming off his worst season statistically (52 catches, 570 yards, two touchdowns). Moreover, Landry is not the type of receiver who stretches the field.
CBS Sports’ Jordan Dajani named the Ravens as the best fit for veteran wide receiver T.Y. Hilton, who turns 33 this season. Baltimore reportedly tried to sign Hilton last offseason.
"Hilton is of course a candidate to return to the Indianapolis Colts, the only team he's ever played for. But the Ravens came calling last offseason, and should again with Marquise Brown now with the Arizona Cardinals," Dajani wrote. "Hilton isn't the same star he was a few years ago, and he caught just 23 passes for 331 yards and three touchdowns in 2021, but he's still a veteran with reliable hands who can help Lamar Jackson."
Meanwhile, USA Today's Art Stapleton proposed a trade in which the Ravens get wide receiver Darius Slayton and cornerback James Bradberry from the New York Giants in exchange for safety Chuck Clark and a swap of 2023 mid-round picks.
Slayton, 24, had 98 catches for 1,491 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2019-2020 before slipping to 26-339-2 last season.
Pundit Says Wide Receiver Is Fifth-Most Important Position on Ravens' Offense
Not everyone agrees that replacing Brown is such a high priority.
As noted in yesterday’s Late for Work, it appears the Ravens could be building their offense to resemble the top-ranked 2019 unit, which often used 13 personnel (one running back, three tight ends, and one receiver).
"I think wide receiver for the Ravens is the fifth-most important position on their offense," Orlovsky said. "I think it goes offensive line, Lamar Jackson, the running backs, their tight ends and then their wide receivers. I just think that's the best version of who they are."
Ravens Reportedly Use UFA Tender on Justin Houston
With the Ravens still needing help at edge rusher, they reportedly used the unrestricted free-agent tender on veteran Justin Houston. The Kansas City Chiefs reportedly did the same with veteran edge rusher Melvin Ingram III.
Other than Odafe Oweh, who is coming off an impressive rookie season, there are question marks at edge rusher.
The Ravens drafted outside linebacker David Ojabo in the second round, but he's coming off an Achilles tear and will begin the season on the shelf. Outside linebacker Tyus Bowser is recovering from an Achilles injury, and there's a lack of proven depth.
Ravens Rise in Post-Draft Power Rankings
Baltimore jumped up four spots to No. 11 in the post-draft edition of NFL.com’s power rankings.
"The Ravens are just good at this," Dan Hanzus wrote. "Disappointments connected to an injury-ravaged 2021 season aside, Baltimore has remained an AFC power player for the better part of two decades thanks in large part to an uncanny knack for knowing who to pick and when. … Comeback szn approaches in Charm City."
- PFF’s Anthony Treash named Hamilton and center Tyler Linderbaum as two of the biggest steals in the first round, and defensive tackle Travis Jones as one of the biggest steals in the third round.