Kyle Hamilton holds himself to a high standard. The Ravens 2022 first-round pick was Pro Football Focus' highest-graded safety last season, but the 22-year-old doesn't feel like that measurement tells the whole story. He believes he has a much higher ceiling to hit than what he was able to show during his rookie campaign, and hopes to do so as soon as this season.
"I played pretty well towards the end of the season, but being bluntly honest, I don't think I was the best safety in the league last year," Hamilton said, via NFL.com. "It's just how the numbers go and I have a lot to improve on. At the same time, I know what I can do in this league and I'm teeing it up for the future."
Hamilton, who was selected by Baltimore with the 14th overall pick out of Notre Dame, wasn't lining up as a traditional safety for most of his rookie season. Instead, he was down near the line of scrimmage and working in the slot. After the Ravens traded Chuck Clark to the Jets earlier this offseason, however, the opportunity is there for Hamilton to drop back deeper in the secondary as a true safety on a more consistent basis.
"I feel like I can slide into that role for sure and perform at a high level," Hamilton said. "I feel like that's what the Ravens drafted me for and that's what I'm here for, and I feel like I can definitely produce."
While playing as more of a box safety last year, Hamilton compiled 62 tackles, two sacks and five pass breakups. Even with this expected move toward the back end of the secondary, that versatility to line up all around the field should still be a quality of Hamilton's game that Baltimore will continue to utilize.
"It's just different seeing the game from different levels, not backpedaling as much, and just getting in the groove," Hamilton said. "That's what OTAs are for. I have a lot to learn in both areas, but I feel like if I can put it all together, it will be really good."
Hamilton is a young and key piece to a Ravens defense that ranked inside the top 10 in the NFL in DVOA last season. With Lamar Jackson secured after inking a long-term contract and the offense retooled, Baltimore is in a position to crash the party in the AFC playoff picture this fall.