The Cowboys rookie mini camp got under way this weekend and there were some undrafted rookies who have already gained attention by spectators. Safety Jakar Hamilton was one of the names who impressed as I read his name over and over again from the Cowboys writers.
It was expected Dallas would draft a safety and they did draft JJ Wilcox in the 3rd round. Wilcox has impressive size and athletic ability but reality is he has played just one year at safety at Georgia Southern of the Division 1AA level. While Wilcox has demonstrated some skills at camp, it’s a fair assessment to say, he is not ready to start in the NFL just yet.
In fact when you look down the Cowboys roster, there really isn’t a true centerfield coverage type safety. In Church they have an in the box type safety and in Matt Johnson they, well don’t really know what they have. The door is open for a ball hawk safety to excel in the Kiffin Tampa 2. It’s early in rookie camp, but Hamilton may be a good fit for this defense.
Georgia then to SC State
Hamilton started his college career with the Georgia Bulldogs in 2010 when he had 27 tackles and an INT for a TD. Pick 6 video. He has 4.5 speed in the 40 and a ridiculous 40 inch vertical which makes him worth taking a look.
Hamilton transferred to S.C. State where he struggled to become academically eligible again. In 2012, Hamilton returned 7 kickoffs for 218 yards and 40 tackles on defense for SC State. Hamilton has experience at both CB and safety. He is an intriguing NFL prospect as his athletic ability is undeniable while on the other hand, there are a lot of questions about him since he didn’t play that much football at the college level.
His situation reminds me of Georgia safety Baccari Rambo who was considered by some analyst to possess first round talent but due to off field issues, fell down to the 6th round when drafted by the Redskins. Hamilton certainly demonstrates talent worthy of being drafted but he went undrafted because of the academic issues and an ankle injury in 2011, that kept him off the field.
Hamilton’s father was a guard on the basketball team at Pitt in 1987 and his mother was a track star at Strom Thurmond HS in Johnson, SC. He also had a half brother who played tailback at Texas A & M and drafted by the Carolina Panthers in 2009. Hamilton scored 20 TDs in helping Strom Thurmond HS to a AAA state championship. But since he moved frequently as a kid, he wasn’t qualified to go to a Division 1 school out of H.S. So Hamilton went the JUCO route where he excelled at Georgia Military and was rated the 2nd highest JUCO prospect behind Cam Newton. That’s when he went to Georgia of the SEC.
It really doesn’t matter what path you take to get to Valley Ranch. Some were drafted high, some drafted low and some not drafted at all. But they are all on the same level field now. Hamilton’s path certainly wasn’t typical or pretty but now that he is here, he has an opportunity to show he can help this football team. So far, he is getting noticed.
The safety position is in need of help and Hamilton comes in with the kind of athletic ability that got the attention of Georgia in the highly competitive SEC. He has yet to put it all together but now is his opportunity to show that he can play with any of the guys whose names were called last month in the NFL draft and he seems determined to do just that. He said,
“The goal at the end of the day whether I get drafted in the first round or the sixth or seventh round or free agent, it’s my job to go out and make an impression on the coaches. I’m going to go out there and show to the world and the coaches that I belong in the NFL.”