One of the biggest risers at the Senior Bowl, DaeSean Hamilton out of Penn State looks like a mid-round gem at wide receiver with an interesting background
Even though DaeSean Hamilton never had a 1,000-yard season during his 4-year career at Penn State, he was frequently used from the slot and caught tons of passes en rout to become the all-time leading receiver in Penn State history.
Hamilton has an interesting background as he was born in Okinawa, Japan into a military family and later moved to Virginia and played safety and receiver at Mountain View High School; also winning multiple of awards for academics, football, and basketball.
During his days at Fredericksburg, Virginia; Hamilton took care of his autistic older brother when he was six-years-old and had to mature at an early age as his mother was later diagnosed with breast cancer when he was 10-years-old.
Hamilton also won many accolades at Penn State on and off the field while also earning his second degree in telecommunications.
Hamilton has the most career receptions at Penn State with 214 career receptions (8th in Big 10 history) and the most receptions in one game with 14 receptions. He blew up on the scene with the second most receptions in a season at Penn State (82 receptions) in his redshirt freshman season in 2014.
Hamilton was a 2nd team All-Big Ten in 2014, Co-Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week in 2017, and Fiesta Bowl winner in 2017. He also had 2,842 career receiving yards (second in Penn State history), 18 touchdowns (tied for fourth in Penn State history), and 13.3 yards per catch in 51 total games at Penn State.
Even as a slot receiver primarily, DaeSean Hamilton was still an effective deep threat for Penn State in 2017 and more buzz among the draft community circulated as he dominated Senior Bowl practices.
According to Pro Football Focus, Hamilton showed the ability to outrun defenders, track the ball in traffic, and had good enough hands to have the highest catch rate on deep passes among draft-eligible Power 5 wide receivers in 2017. His ability as route runner is one of the highlights of this wide receiver class and it showed against other senior cornerbacks at the Senior Bowl practices and the game. He dominates in these one on one drills at the Senior Bowl right from the start as he has separation after he makes a quick move with his great footwork and acceleration to sell the route.
Games Watched: 2014- UCF; 2016- Pittsburgh, Wisconsin; 2017- Nebraska, Pittsburgh, Georgia State, Indiana, Akron, Michigan State, Ohio State, Michigan
2014- against UCF:
In 2014 against Central Florida, Hamilton shows off the ability to play on the outside as a boundary wide receiver and sells the route perfectly. Against off coverage, he makes the cornerback bite on the curl but fakes and turns around and runs a go route, which is underthrown by the quarterback but still stops and catches the contested ball. He does lose balance and could have gotten more yards if he did not fall down but even as a freshman, Hamilton showed how he can win on route running alone and is easily his best trait that could compete with many of the big-name wide receivers at the top of the draft class.
2016- against Wisconsin:
In 2016 against Wisconsin, Hamilton does his damage as a slot receiver and runs a deep corner route and attacks the football with double coverage. He makes a good adjustment to the ball and makes a spectacular catch in traffic. Hamilton does not have the best hands in this receiver draft class but he still made some clutch catches for Penn State. Whether he is on the outside or inside, DeSean Hamilton has a good chance of running most or the whole route tree at the next level with his quick footwork and acceleration to get open.
2017- against Michigan:
In 2017 against Michigan, Hamilton takes a simple slant from the slant and gets a big chunk of yards out of that play, showing his yards after catch ability. He stutter-steps before making his move and runs a slant while the defensive back is backed off from his tight man coverage and is out of position from the beginning. Even though Hamilton is not the fastest receiver, he has plenty of juice to get down the field and outrun defenders with the ball in his hands.
Hamilton has good enough effort at run blocking and can bring depth or starter potential to any team that needs a receiver due to his versatility in the slot and on the outside. Other then his true freshman season in 2013 where he was redshirted for a wrist injury, Hamilton has not missed a game in the 4 seasons after 2013. DaeSean Hamilton is a receiver that can get going with his involvement in the screen or quick pass game that could create mismatches in the slot.
2017- against Michigan State:
In 2017 against Michigan State, Hamilton just has a lack of concentration as he is open on a slant route and is more concerned running away from the defender before making sure to secure the pass and drops the ball it goes through his hands and hits his chest. The concentration drops at times are concerns even though some of his few drops came in the same game as he does body catch a few times.
The 2 big issues in Hamilton’s game is his concentration drops and his dip in production after his redshirt freshman year.
After his 2014 campaign, Hamilton never had more than 53 catches after that season and never had over 900 yards in a single season for Penn State. Some may question his production was due to his usage and whether or not he is a better slot or on the outside and if he can separate against press coverage and tighter man coverage. Hamilton also had big-time offensive weapons like Barkley and Gescki around him so he may have had more one on one opportunities.
Due to the tremendous depth at the wide receiver position, Hamilton could be selected on Day 2 (Rounds 2-3) as a guy who can contribute right away for an NFL team. Any team that needs wide receiver depth or starting talent could benefit from selecting a guy like Hamilton as he is a balanced receiver who has the ability to run the whole route tree very efficiently in the NFL. Even though his stats do not necessarily show it, Hamilton was a very productive receiver that last couple years at Penn State and can be just as efficient at the next level.