This serves as the foundation for our 2018 draft assessments.
Scout: Kyle Crabbs
Name: Shaun Dion Hamilton
High School: Carver (AL)
Games Played: 24
Games Started: 17
Team Captain: No
Production: 94 tackles, 2.0 sacks, 10.5 tackles for loss, two interceptions, one forced fumble
High School: Consensus 4-star prospect. Selected to participate in the 2014 U.S. Army All-American Bowl. First team Alabama Sports Writers Association 6A All-State as a senior. Member of the AL.com 2013 Super All-State Team. Chose Alabama over offers from Auburn, USC, Tennessee, Arizona State, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Mississippi, Mississippi State and others.
College: Early enrollee, joining the Crimson Tide in January 2014.
Strengths: Has great pad level and leverage to challenge blockers one on one in the alley. Powerful lower half and explosive linear burst to either drive forward into the line of scrimmage or coil into tackle attempts. Does well to stay balanced as a blocker and get feet collected prior to challenging ball carriers. Has efficient footwork (albeit not the most fluid); very little in the way of wasted steps or drift when processing the play. Seemed to show best when bumped wide and allowed to process from a wider angle; sees backfield development well and is quick to attack.
Weaknesses: Suffered a torn ACL at the end of 2016, so health is a question. As previously mentioned, suddenness with feet is not especially notable: visible lag when transitioning out of run reads and working back into zone coverage. Does not appear to have the hip looseness to flip and get large amounts of depth, would recommend avoiding deep zone drops or anything outside of the 10 yard vicinity from the LOS. Hand usage when attacking and squaring up blockers can be improved with more deliberate punch and better placement with the hands.
Summary: Alabama’s Shaun Dion Hamilton is a likable LB prospect with the needed tackling skill, physicality and leverage to win as a point of attack linebacker. In shallow zones, Dion Hamilton does provide adequate skills and can be a three down player in certain schemes. Perhaps his best trait is his play into the gap. He shows no fear in getting forward and blowing up blockers on the opposing side of the line of scrimmage.
Dion Hamilton’s lack of high end range will diminish his value some, as well as a notable lack of length and effectiveness disengaging from blocks. There’s still room for improvement in both areas, and provided Shaun Dion Hamilton is healthy in 2017 he can improve his stock with development there.