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Daniel Jeremiah likes Hamilton for Lions if Hutchinson goes No. 1

There's always a little bit of debate around the NFL on where the best position value is at the top of the NFL Draft. The popular thinking is that quarterbacks, pass rushers and left tackles give teams the best value when selecting high in the draft.

We don't usually think of the safety position having the same value, but NFL draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah has a different view.

In a Zoom call with media Friday, Jeremiah said he's a little more biased on the value of safeties having called Chargers games the last four years and watching Derwin James' impact from the safety position.

Jeremiah was also a personnel assistant and scout with Baltimore, and watched the impact Ed Reed had on the Ravens' defense for so long.

Asked about Notre Dame's Kyle Hamilton and his chance of being a top five pick, maybe even as high as No. 2 to Detroit, Jeremiah made a case for Hamilton.

"In a draft like this one, where to me (Michigan edge rusher Aidan) Hutchinson is the top player, but after Hutchinson, if he's off the board and goes No. 1, I would have no issues whatsoever with (Lions) taking Kyle Hamilton and say this is a plug and play guy who is going to give them something they desperately need, and that's someone who can make a play," Jeremiah said. "I think Kyle Hamilton stacks up with everyone in this draft."

View photos of the defensive back prospects who were invited to the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine.

Hamilton (6-4, 220) is considered the best safety prospect in the draft in some time. He played in just seven games for the Irish this past year because of a minor knee injury, but still recorded three interceptions. He had four interceptions and defended six passes as true freshman in 2019. Jeremiah views him as a pure playmaker.

The Lions could have a big need at safety with starters Tracy Walker and Dean Marlowe headed to free agency.

"I think this kid is pretty unique," Jeremiah said of Hamilton. "He's so tall and long and rangy. The ability to make plays in the deep middle as well as drop down low and be a physical player. He can erase tight ends. The interception against Florida State is as good as it gets.

"I think from a makeup standpoint, and I haven't got all the background information on him, but when you watch him cover punts as a gunner and see how hard he plays, I think this guy checks off all the boxes."

Jeremiah also touched on a number of other topics, as follows:

His latest mock draft: Jeremiah dropped his most recent mock draft this week. He has the Lions selecting Hutchinson with the No. 2 overall pick.

"Hutchinson is a natural fit for the Lions as they continue their rebuild," he wrote. "He is my top-rated player in the draft."

He also has the Lions doubling up with support along their defensive line with the selection of Georgia defensive tackle Jordan Davis with the Lions' second first-round pick at No. 32.

"The Lions could look for a QB here, but Davis would be a nice addition to a young defensive unit," he wrote of Davis.

On Hutchinson vs. Kayvon Thibodeaux: "I think Hutchinson has more ways to get to the quarterback. I think he's got more tools in that regard," Jeremiah said. "I also think he plays a lot harder on a consistent basis. I think that's a little bit of a knock on Thibodeaux was there's times where the effort kind of comes and goes a little bit. You don't ever see that with Hutchinson.

"I think both guys have a little bit of ankle tightness that shows up. I don't think either one of them are bend at the top of your rush guys. But I think Aidan's showed more snap and explosiveness with his hands on contact. You see it in flashes with Thibodeaux. But I think overall the theme is Hutchinson, especially this year, you compare those two guys, down in and down out, game in and game out, was just more consistent throughout the season."

View photos of the defensive line prospects who were invited to the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine.

On the QB class: Jeremiah views this draft as a little different than years past in that there isn't a lot of star power at quarterback. He isn't convinced a QB will be taken in the first 10 picks. Jeremiah joked he didn't receive a quarterback question until 32 minutes into Friday's call, which tells him how different of a draft this could be with no big-time quarterback prospects.

He considers Pittsburgh's Kenny Pickett the most ready to play right away. He said Liberty's Malik Willis has the highest upside, and could be worth a flyer for a team like Detroit at the bottom of the first round with the potential for a big payoff.

On the receiver class: Jeremiah views this as a "great wide receiver draft." He said Penn State's Jahan Dotson has the best hands in the draft. He really likes Ohio State's Chris Olave and thinks he'll test really well at the Combine. He was also high on Western Michigan receiver Skyy Moore. He thinks Moore will be a Day 2 pick and said he has a lot of Antonio Brown traits on the field.

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