Notre Dame football: Could Kyle Hamilton fall to No. 18 overall?

Kyle Hamilton #14 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Kyle Hamilton #14 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

The Notre Dame football team has a sure-fire first-round prospect in Kyle Hamilton, who is dropping in some mock drafts this December.

For the past two seasons, Kyle Hamilton has established himself as a potential first-round pick as a key for this Notre Dame football team on the defensive side of the ball. An incredibly gifted player, Hamilton saw his 2021 season cut short due to injury, and while many felt he could eventually come back after the injury against USC, he has yet to return.

This week, he made it clear that he would not be returning at all, as he declared for the NFL Draft. It was a smart move for a player who has accomplished so much at the collegiate level, and one that possesses the kind of skill set that the scouts drool over.

There is no doubt that Hamilton is going to be a first-round pick in April, as nearly every mock draft has him going as early as the top-5, but a recent mock draft had Hamilton falling on Day 1. In his latest mock draft for Pro Football Network, the talented Ian Cummings has Hamilton falling all the way to No. 18 overall, and here is his reason why:

"Hamilton falls for two reasons in this 2022 NFL Mock Draft. His injury, which has knocked him out for the latter portion of the season, could prove problematic for some teams. Additionally, safeties tend to be devalued in Round 1 for whatever reason."

While the reasoning is valid in terms of devaluing the safety spot, Hamilton has the talent to come in and have a Derwin James-like impact at the next level. Not only that, this pick is after the Las Vegas Raiders select, and if there is any team that needs a boost at the safety position, it is them after whiffing on Johnathan Abram in the first round back in 2019.

Notre Dame football end first-round drought

Wherever Hamilton ends up being selected on Day 1, it will end a drought for the Irish in terms of first-round picks. Last year, every mock had linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah going in round one, but testing before the draft brought up a red flag, and he fell to the Cleveland Browns in the second round, where he is having an outstanding rookie season.

The last Irish player to be taken in the first round was Jerry Tillery, who was picked at No. 28 in the same 2019 NFL Draft that Abram was selected. Hamilton will break that run, and it could be very early that he hears his name called.

The Irish will obviously be without Hamilton for the Fiesta Bowl, as even if he did not declare for the NFL Draft, he may not have been healthy enough to go. He has been a special player in South Bend and will be a special player at the next level, so no matter who he ends up with, or when he is selected on night one, that team is getting a Day 1 starter.