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Scouting Profile: Wide Receiver Daesean Hamilton

by Mike Tagliere | @MikeTagliereNFL | Featured Writer
Apr 5, 2018

Penn State wide receiver Daesean Hamilton has been moving up draft boards over the last month

Daesean Hamilton, Penn State

Height: 6’1″
Weight: 203 pounds
40-yard dash: 4.52 seconds (Pro Day time)
Vertical: 34.5 inches
Broad Jump: 9’10”

Hamilton is one of the names who is creeping up draft boards as the weeks go by, picking up steam as a prospect who could sneak inside the top three rounds. While I didn’t view him that highly, one analyst who made me take a second look was NFL Network’s Steve Smith, who gushed about Hamilton before the Combine even started. Last year, it was Cooper Kupp on Smith’s radar, so I naturally felt obligated to go back and watch some more.

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While at Penn State, the focal point is obviously Saquon Barkley, making it somewhat difficult for him to produce gaudy numbers. He finished the 2017 season with 53 receptions for 857 yards and nine touchdowns, a massive improvement from his 2016 campaign that netted just 506 yards and one touchdown. Oddly enough, his freshman season was his most productive, as he totaled 82 receptions for 899 yards.

Size/Versatility: 2.0 out of 5 stars
Hamilton lined up in the slot more often than not, though he did play on the perimeter at times. The best way to describe his size is that he plays smaller than 6-foot-1 and 203 pounds. He’s not a very big target for a quarterback and doesn’t play above-the-rim, despite his size being similar to someone like Roddy White who was 6-foot-1 and 208 pounds. It’ll be hard to imagine Hamilton playing many snaps on the perimeter at the next level, as he would struggle against some of the better cornerbacks in the league. He can be used in the screen game and is a solid run-blocker, but he’s not going to be the No. 1 receiver on a team with his size/versatility restrictions.

Route Running/Ability to Separate: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Sells his routes very well, has a good jab step to sell the defender, though his speed limits what he can do early in the route. Very animated through his routes, seems to give advanced notice at times, leaving the defender glued to him. First move typically doesn’t lose the defender, but his second move will give him space. He’s actually a much better route-runner when he’s not being so intentional about his movements. He has these subtle changes deep into his routes without losing much speed. It’s why he’s better once he gets some speed ramped up. His route running is solid, though the comparisons to Calvin Ridley aren’t fair to him. He doesn’t have the speed to compare to Ridley and defenders don’t have to respect his speed.

Speed: 2.0 out of 5 stars
This is the area that hurts him more than anything else. Teams can scheme him into a bit more space and use him to his strengths, but without speed, defenders will press him. He’s lacking initial burst off the line of scrimmage and takes time to ramp-up speed. He’s not extremely quick twitch, either, which can sometimes make a player appear faster than they are to the defender. Hamilton did run a 4.52-second 40-yard dash at his Pro Day, which isn’t horrible (not great, either), but you can clearly see his lack of speed on tape. Once he gets 5-10 yards into his route, that’s when he’ll gain separation.

Hands: 2.0 out of 5 stars
Hamilton is not a natural hands-catcher and often lets the ball come into his body. Many players do this too often, but Hamilton will also have focus drops from time-to-time. While I believe drops are often overvalued, the fact that Hamilton is a body-catcher nudges him to slightly below average. He will make some solid contested catches that make you wonder if there’s more here, but I’m not a believer that his hands are difference-makers.

Awareness: 3.0 out of 5 stars
He seems to understand where the play is, what he’s supposed to do, including when he’s run-blocking. If there’s one area that surprised me about his game, it’s how good/willing he was as a blocker. While going over of the middle of the field, he’s aware of hits coming, will shield his body at times. Ball-tracking didn’t seem to be an issue, as he adjusted well to a few underthrown balls from the tape I saw. His ability to read a zone appears to be solid enough, though nothing extraordinary that sets him apart from the pack.

After the Catch: 2.0 out of 5 stars
Similar to a lot of his game, there’s just not much here. He’s not strong enough to break many tackles and doesn’t have enough speed to break long plays. His vision is solid and he knows where he’s supposed to go, but the defenders at the next level have ridiculous closing speed. He’s not going to be someone who does much after the catch.

NFL Comparison
He’s going to be considered a “big” slot receiver, but I don’t think he plays like a Marques Colston. Instead, I’ll use a different Saints wide receiver in this area. Hamilton’s play-style reminds me a bit of Willie Snead, who occupies the slot role for the Saints. Neither of them are exceptional athletes, but they do get separation with sound route-running. It’s unlikely that Hamilton makes a splash early in his career, but if he falls into a situation like Snead, he could pop-up on the fantasy radar from time-to-time.

Don’t miss the other Scouting Profiles on top prospects below:
Saquon Barkley (RB – Penn State)
Derrius Guice (RB – LSU)
Ronald Jones (RB – USC)
Sony Michel (RB – Georgia)
Nick Chubb (RB – Georgia)
Royce Freeman (RB – Oregon)
Rashaad Penny (RB – San Diego State)
Kerryon Johnson (RB – Auburn)
John Kelly (RB – Tennessee)
Kalen Ballage (RB – Arizona State)
Calvin Ridley (WR – Alabama)
James Washington (WR – Oklahoma State)
Courtland Sutton (WR – Southern Methodist)
Michael Gallup (WR – Colorado State)
D.J. Moore (WR – Maryland)
Christian Kirk (WR – Texas A&M)
Anthony Miller (WR – Memphis)
Equanimeous St. Brown (WR – Notre Dame)

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Mike Tagliere is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Mike, check out his archive and follow him @MikeTagliereNFL.

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