Chargers Draft Prospectus XV

So much goes into the scouting process nowadays. Besides watching a prospect on film and in person, teams want a good character player, one who can turn into a team leader and bring a winning tradition to town. AJ Smith and the San Diego Chargers are no different.

The quest for a solid all around player takes into account so much says AJ Smith who will head the Chargers Draft.

"We factor all information, character, work ethic, what kind of a kid is he, what kind of a football player is he. All the things get factored in before the final decision. We have had real good football players that are higher ranking, by the end of the readings in two weeks we eliminate them. Now we know they are going to go somewhere else in the NFL and be successful, but they are not what we want in a San Diego Charger."

So how do they feel about Ken Hamlin? With Sammy Davis quickly climbing many draft boards and now expected to be the third cornerback taken in the Draft (the Chargers love Davis) it appears they have turned their attention back to safety. The second round has been the round to find quality safeties over the years and this year figures to be no different.

Ok answer the question already. how do the Bolts feel about Hamlin?

They like him a lot. He is among a few they have targeted in the second round. AJ Smith says he has 7 or 8 guys per round, and we have gone through many of those over the past few weeks.

"We'll have a group of players at each round, a plethora of players, anywhere between 7 or 8 players and we will be prepared to see how it unfolds," Smith said.

Hamlin is one of the most decorated athletes in Arkansas school history and certainly their best defensive player since the Steve Atwater era (1985-88). The Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Year nominee became the first player in school history to record over 100 tackles in a season three times in a career.

Hamlin recorded 381 tackles (221 solos), breaking the old school career-record of 367 hits by Cliff Powell (1967-69), caused eight fumbles and recovered five others, deflected 28 passes and intercepted nine others while playing in 36 games.

Ken Hamlin
Ht: 6-2 Wt: 209
40 Times: 4.49/4.54
Vertical Jump: 34.5"
Broad Jump: 9' 9"
Bench Press (high): 345 pounds
Bench Press: 16 reps

"Hard hitting, run defending safety that flashes brilliance on occasion. Breaks down well, hard hitting and very active against the run. Good playing speed, has excellent range and a closing burst of speed. Quickly breaks on the throw, takes good angles to the action and easily brings opponents down at the point of attack." Tony Pauline-TFY Draft Preview

"As far as what I did at the (NFL) combine in Indianapolis, I improved in almost every area," Hamlin said. "I felt like I had a good day, and that goes for the position drills that the coaches put me through."

Hamlin participated in every personal interview that was requested. As always, he was asked about his two DUI violations between his sophomore and junior years.

"I'm ready for that and am glad to talk about it," Hamlin said. "That's me. I did it. I have to confront it. I think I answered all of their questions, and am ready for whatever they have. It's not something you can hide."

Hamlin is a well-defined athlete, makes quick decisions on the field, showing an understanding for pass routes and blocking schemes. He has the deep speed needed to cover receivers through their routes, is very smooth in his backpedal and explodes out of his breaks. He shows the recovery quickness and body adjustment skills to make a smooth switch-off in zone coverage and has the large, soft hands needed to extend and catch away from the body. Hamlin has really made strides in his pass coverage in his time at Arkansas.

Hamlin is a strike-and-jolt tackler who stays low in his stance to deliver the hit and is a commanding presence against the run. Watching game tape it is hard to find a better athlete at the safety spot in terms of talent defending the run and pass.

If not for his DUI violations, Hamlin could have been the first safety chosen come Draft day. He can be that good, and his potential is sky high. The Chargers would be silly not to have their eyes on this prize. Good thing they do have their sights on this "target" and have since before the combines.

Special thanks to Tony Pauline who contributed to this report.

Denis Savage can be reached at or via the following link: Denis Savage

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