Pros: He has good size and speed and is a very good athlete. Is active in run support and likes to throw his body around and thump receivers over the middle. Does a nice job making plays in pursuit. Has good instincts in zone coverage and does a nice job in the short zone. Has a knack for big plays and does a nice job keeping things in front of him. Can cover the tight end.
Cons: Tackles too high and misses too many tackles. Struggles at the point of attack. Looks to hit rather than wrap, and is not really a strong tackler to begin with. Has poor hips and won't be able to match up against wideouts in the slot. Doesn't have great ball skills and has trouble working the deep centerfield, letting too many guys get behind him. Not quick to break up the pass and can be late reading the quarterback.
Overview: He's the guy that is constantly around the ball, but he's not the guy making the play. He's a great athlete, but not a great football player. No, he's not related to Ken Hamlin.
NFL Forecast: I see Hamlin possibly developing as a coverage strong safety that can hit, but is not really a good tackler. He can potentially play either safety position, but will need to get better in the center field to stick at free safety. And he needs to get stronger vs. the run to really make an impact at strong safety. He's good enough to start, but I don't think he'd excel as a starter. If you team with a rangy, consistent safety, he could be better. But if a team is relying on him to be a consistent playmaker in the secondary, they are going to be disappointed. I think if he gets bigger and stronger, he can improve in run support. But he looks like a guy that overly relies on his athleticism, rather than playing well.
ATL Forecast: Hamlin can compete in Atlanta, but he's not going to be the ideal candidate to start at strong safety. I think he'd be much better sitting behind Erik Coleman for a few years and being developed as a free safety. It's going to take him some time to develop as an impact starting strong safety, and that's not really time the Falcons have. If he was drafted to be the team's replacement for Milloy, I'd expect that by the time his rookie contract is over, the Falcons will be looking to move on in another direction.
Value: Hamlin's athletic potential might sneak him up into the third round, but I'd wait until the fourth to draft.
Scouting Reports of safeties in the 2009 NFL Draft
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