Choice #12 Ideal Scenarios

Matt Cashore – USA TODAY Sports

The top two players in the draft class are apparently outplayed by everyone and for different reasons.

Thibodeaux was considered a top ‘slam dunk’ pick, but the narrative changed for the former Oregon Duck. First reported by Todd McShay after the Senior Bowl, there are questions about his work ethic and his love of football. These questions have arisen due to his interests outside of gaming. He is big on building a brand and even has his own cryptocurrency. With NIL now becoming a thing, are these real issues or just a young man trying to maximize his value in the small window he has?

It’s more likely the latter.

The game on the ground has none of these pop-ups. He is a ferocious pass thrower, who knows how to maximize his power and leverage. Compare to Jadeveon Clowney fits one hundred percent. Both are explosive and natural disruptors who have the toolset to be elite rushers.

Clowney never developed the full toolkit to reach his full potential, but that shouldn’t stop teams from trying their luck against Thibodeaux in the top five.

Hamilton is of another ilk. Having been a dominating safety his entire career at Notre Dame, it’s easy to see why teams would love him. At 6-foot-4 and 219 pounds, Hamilton is a stranger to this position. He has the size to play regularly in the second tier, can play man cover in the slot machine, is an excellent blitzer, and has elite reach in center field. Going into the process, he felt like a safe pick. Once the combine hit, his narrative changed.

While his relative athletic score put him in the 92.9 percentile, Hamilton didn’t run as fast as it appears on the tape. His time of 4.59 seconds on a fast surface at Indianapolis was not bettered on his pro day, when his times were 4.70 and 4.74 seconds. On tape, he looks like a game breaker who can cover long distances quickly, including the now infamous interception against Florida State in Week 1.

With the importance of the safe play growing year on year with the need to maximize two deep safeties, having elite level players at the back has never been more beneficial. Imagine pairing Hamilton with Harrison Smith for the next three seasons.

Brandon D. James