NFL Draft Q&A: Marcus Hamilton

On the surface, the Bears appear to be in pretty good shape at cornerback. Nathan Vasher and Charles Tillman are a solid starting pair, and Ricky Manning Jr. played well last year in the nickel package. Nevertheless, Chicago talked to the agent of Virginia cornerback Marcus Hamilton at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis. Could he be creeping up GM Jerry Angelo's draft board?

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Marcus Hamilton - Cornerback, Virginia

Numbers: 5'11", 191 pounds

2006 Stats: 5 INT, 4 PD, 39 tackles (27 solo), 4 TFL, 1 QB pressure in 11 games

Career Stats: 15 INT, 10 PD, 102 tackles (73 solo), 8 TFL, 1 QB pressure in 51 games

The Buzz: Enters the draft with 15 career interceptions, second only to Duke's John Talley amongst available cornerbacks ... Considered to be one of the top cover corners in the ACC ... Has visits scheduled with two NFL teams already and received inquiries from five teams, including the Saints and the Falcons in addition to the Bears ... "Just taking on that leadership role being a fifth-year senior, I think walking the walk is the right term to use for him. You can't ask for a better role model like that to be so talented on the field and off the field." - Virginia WR Fontel Mines ... "Physical and will mix it up with opponents" - TFY Draft Preview ... Intelligent player who knows how to use his closing speed burst to bait quarterbacks into throwing interceptions ... "Hamilton's a guy you better be aware of at all times because he can turn a game around in a hurry."  - Pittsburgh head coach Dave Wannstedt.

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Noteworthy: Was a team captain for the Cavaliers ... His 63 tackles in 2005 tied for the second-most by a cornerback in school history ... Graduated in December 2005 - a semester early - with a degree in sociology, and enrolled in graduate school for 2006 ... In his junior year, sealed UVA's Music City Bowl win over Minnesota with an interception in the end zone to end the Golden Gophers' final possession. Also broke up four passes in the game to set a Virginia bowl record ... In 2003, led the kickoff coverage unit with 10 tackles.

Marcus Hamilton Q&A Preview:
(Don't miss our NFL Draft Q&A Feature with Marcus Hamilton this week, a Scout.com subscribers exclusive!)

Ed Thompson: When scouts come to your Pro Day on March 19th, what is it that you want to make sure they see out on the football field? And what do you want them to know about you personally when you get a chance to talk to them?

Marcus Hamilton: Personally, I want them to know that I'm a very high-character guy, intelligent, family-oriented, and a Christian who believes in God and strives and works hard in everything he does in life. And on the field, I'd say just that I have the skill set to play the next level. That I have the hips and the feet that NFL corners need to have, and that I have the speed to play at the next level.

ET: One statistic of yours that really stands out is your 15 interceptions during your college career.

MH: I've been able to be on some pretty good defenses and been privileged to make plays, and the Lord has just blessed me tremendously to be able to grab the amount of interceptions I have. I have pretty good hands, so I like to be able to think that if the ball's in the air, I have a good shot at getting it. And that's just how I've been for the past couple of years.

ET: What are your strengths as a cornerback that should serve you well in the NFL?

MH: I feel like I'm very athletic and I have the cover abilities, but I also sometimes like to take chances and make the quarterback think that a receiver's open. And as the ball is being lofted, get in close to the receiver and get the interception. I've done that a couple of times, especially on our coverage schemes which allow me the flexibility to do that. I think that's a big key - to be able to make the quarterback think somebody's open, and at the last second recover to them and make the play.

For more about Marcus Hamilton, visit his profile page at Scout.com.


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