After being primarily used as a slot defender and box safety in 2022, second-year safety Kyle Hamilton is in an interesting position. The Ravens moved on from safety Chuck Clark, and though they have depth in Geno Stone, Brandon Stephens and Ar’Darius Washington for the No. 2 role beside Marcus Williams, there’s a wonder if Hamilton will move to a more traditional deep safety role than continue where he became one of the NFL’s best defenders last season. During OTAs, Head Coach John Harbaugh was asked about Hamilton’s role for the pending season.
“Yes, [Hamilton] is not going to be ‘the nickel,’ per se. He’ll be a safety,” Harbaugh said. “A traditional safety role [is] probably not in our defense, because we move our guys around. Our safeties are rushing the passer, they’re playing linebacker, they’re running from on the line of scrimmage back to the deep middle. We do a lot with those guys, so the fact that he’s able to do all that really helps us be who we want to be on defense.”
It sounds as if the Ravens will be moving him around at times, as they like him in the nickel role but don’t want to box him in. However, Defensive Coordinator Mike Macdonald said during minicamp that they don’t want him to be moved about too much, so they’re in the learning process this offseason.
“That’s a strength of Kyle’s game – is he’s so versatile – but at some point, there is a tradeoff,” Macdonald said. “If he’s never in the same spot for long enough, the question is, does he get good enough at those things? So, that’s something we need to figure out before we get kicked off.”
It sounds like the Ravens want to explore areas where Hamilton can make the greatest impact (which is a completely reasonable thing to do), but it also sounds like they don’t want to linger too long on exploring where he is best suited.
Today’s Question of the Day
How do you see the Ravens using Kyle Hamilton in 2023?
Kyle Barber: I feel it’s going to be rather similar to his usage in Year 1. He was among the NFL’s most successful defenders in the slot/box, and to remove him there would be a bold move. But if he can generate that kind of impact as a more “traditional” safety, I can’t blame the Ravens for challenging him with more. They fortunately don’t have to force him into such a role with Williams being an excellent free safety and the depth, particularly Stone, can help to alleviate the need to move Hamilton toward the back end.
Hamilton spent 74.7% of snaps in the box/slot last season. I think it may be closer to 65-70% in Year 2, as they look to define how much he can shoulder in different areas.
So, Beatdown readers, how do you see the Ravens using Kyle Hamilton in 2023?