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2022 NFL Mock Draft: The Steelers have the top safety fall to them in Round 1

In the latest mock draft, the Steelers use their first pick on a player many thought could go top five, but some fear may fall down the board.

Boston College v Notre Dame Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers were much bigger players in the 2022 free agency market than what fans are used to seeing. Filling a number of needs during the first wave, there could still be a few positions the Steelers need to address, either as free agency continues on or through the NFL Draft later this month. With the NFL Scouting Combine and player Pro Days behind us, there was a lot more information in regards to draft prospects this year.

When talking about mock drafts or NFL free agency, you have to first identify the team’s main needs for the offseason. After the first week of free agency, there are some who would like to see the Steelers still go with either offensive line or quarterback with their first-round pick. Others feel defensive line or cornerback could still be on top of the list. Two other current team needs include wide receiver and strong safety. With the draft now only days away, the Steelers should have a very firm grasp on what they are looking for. When it comes to what position the team will select with their first pick, it is certainly up for debate.

In a recent seven-round mock draft by Walterfootball.com, they have the Steelers having the top safety for 2022 plummet down the board and into their lap. Even with the Steelers adding Terrell Edmunds last week on a one-year deal, if the Steelers have the chance to add a game-changing talent to the position group it should still be something they consider. Since the Steelers could go in any number of directions with their first pick, it is important to look at all the possibilities presented by various mock draft outlets.

Check out the Steelers 20th pick:

20. Pittsburgh Steelers | Kyle Hamilton | S | Notre Dame | Junior |

Even with the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine and Pro Days behind us, there may be some players some fans may not be as familiar with. If this is the case, here is a breakdown of Hamilton according to thedraftnetwork.com:

Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton might just be the best NFL draft prospect I’ve personally studied since entering into the draft space in 2014. This is a unicorn-caliber player who is physically capable of executing a slew of roles and responsibilities and the Notre Dame program did a terrific job accentuating his versatility and allowing him to shine on all three levels of their defense. Hamilton’s football IQ and instincts are simply on another level, too. He sees the game differently and that allows him to play the game with a rare patience before calling upon elite physical skills to transition and drive to the football. Hamilton’s youth trainer credits him with a 40” vertical, an 11’ broad jump, and ‘the fastest (electronic) 10-yard split I’ve ever timed at my facility’ at the age of 18 when he left for the Irish program. Keep your binoculars handy when you watch him play, he’ll keep you busy searching for him on a play-by-play basis. One game studied featured Hamilton’s first few snaps that involved playing coverage on the punt team, aligning in the nickel and pushing to the flat, driving to deep middle of the field coverage, aligning as a stack player and playing robber, and then aligning as an end man on the line of scrimmage in a pressure look. He’s an elite tackler, offers tremendous range, and allowed his ball skills to shine in 2021 before an injury cut short his season as a junior and cost him the second half of the Irish’s season. NFL teams will have the luxury of plugging him into their secondary and getting an immediate upgrade and an impact player; be it fitting the box from deep alignments, man or zone coverage from the nickel or as a part of pressure packages prowling the line of scrimmage. Hamilton can do it all and should be considered a defensive weapon that is given as many roles as a team can craft for him. He shouldn’t leave the field on defense in any personnel grouping thanks to his IQ and physical versatility and elite size for the safety position. For my money, this is the most physically talented player in the class and, as previously mentioned, is on the short-list for my best prospects since 2014.

Ideal role: Defensive weapon

Scheme tendencies: Creative system that moves players and manufactures personnel advantages in critical down and distance situations

For all you who are finding yourself diving more into draft analysis, what do you think of the selection? Would you be on board with the Steelers taking Hamilton with their first pick? Do you feel this is not a position the Steelers would address in the first round? Is the thought of Hamilton falling all the way to pick 20 too far-fetched?

Personally, and I’ll say it one last time, I’m just thankful to find a crazy enough mock draft to have it be a player I had yet to cover. But in all seriousness, if the Steelers have the opportunity to get Kyle Hamilton even if it would take a small trade up a few positions, I would be totally in favor of it. This is a player the Steelers shouldn’t have even been considering as a possibility as it was believed he was going in the first hour of the draft. But recently, a number of mock drafts have Hamilton falling because they are concerned the teams don’t know exactly what position to play him. Is he really a safety or is he more of a linebacker? It only takes one team to know what to do with him and he’ll be off the board.

For me, if the Steelers didn’t make a move and Hamilton is available at 20, should they even consider anybody else? My answer would be no. But for you, each person is entitled to their own opinion so make sure you leave it in the comments below.

NOTE: On Monday afternoon, look for the Mock Draft Monday offseason recap article outlining every player covered since the Steelers began the offseason in January.