With an 83% chance of winning in the NFL draft, many were shocked to hear that Detroit Lions GM Bob Quinn took a historically stupid move and picked up Arkansas’ Joe Mixon. If you’re surprised by this pick, then you haven’t been paying attention.

Mel Kiper Jr. is a former NFL scout who’s now an ESPN analyst and has been predicting the draft since 1984. His predictions are often considered to be stupid, but he says that he has never made a historically stupid move.

Mel Kiper Jr. Predicts Historically Stupid Move By Detroit Lions

Kyle Hamilton of Notre Dame might be the top football player in the NFL Draft in 2022. And if the Detroit Lions choose him No. 2 overall, as ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. expects, it would be a colossal mistake, with 20 years of precedent to back it up.

Kyle Hamilton is a top prospect in the NFL Draft in 2022.

Since 2019, the lowest passer rating permitted in coverage has been (Safeties)

1️⃣ Kyle Hamilton: 25.9 2️⃣ Brandon Joseph: 38.7 3️⃣ Jaquan Brisker: 47.3 pic.twitter.com/ALOF63B4xq

— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) March 18, 2022

Kyle Hamilton of Notre Dame is without a doubt a superb football player.

According to UND.com, the Atlanta, Georgia native appeared in 31 games in three years in South Bend. He has 138 tackles, 7.5 for a loss, 24 pass defenses, and eight interceptions. During his freshman season, Hamilton even returned one for a touchdown.

He was a Freshman All-American in 2019 and a first-team All-American in 2020 and 2021, according to the Football Writers Association of America. He was also a captain for the Fighting Irish during his senior year.

Hamilton, who stands 6-foot-4 and weighs 220-pounds, ran a 4.59 40-yard sprint at the combine and was third among safeties in the vertical leap (38.0 inches), second in the broad jump (10-feet-11-inches), and sixth in the 3-cone drill and 20-yard shuttle (6.9-seconds, 4.32-seconds).

ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. writes on Hamilton, who he picks at No. 2 for the Detroit Lions, in his most recent mock draft:

Hamilton, a 6-foot-4 playmaking safety, would instantly increase the ceiling of a defense that has struggled for years. He has the ability to play in the box, out of the slot, and in center field. Normally, I’d think this is too expensive for a safety, but Hamilton is a one-of-a-kind player. 

Mel Kiper Jr. on Kyle Hamilton, an NFL draft prospect

All of this is correct.

His output, measurables, and adaptability are unrivaled. And Hamilton is “a one-of-a-kind and exceptional defender.”

The No. 2 overall choice, though, is just “too high for a safety,” as Kiper concedes.

Taking safeties in the top 10 has a bad track record.

Since 2000, the NFL has picked eight safeties in the top ten, with none going higher than fourth overall. These are the players:

  • Jamal Adams, New York Jets, No. 6 in 2017
  • Mark Barron, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, No. 7 in 2012
  • Eric Berry, Kansas City Chiefs, No. 5 in 2010
  • No. 5, LaRon Landry, Washington, 2007.
  • Michael Huff, Oakland Raiders, No. 7 in 2006
  • Donte Whitner, Buffalo Bills, No. 8 in 2006
  • Sean Taylor, Washington, No. 5, 2004
  • Roy Williams, Dallas Cowboys, No. 8, 2002

There are no Hall of Famers in this group, but there are no huge busts either. Berry (five Pro Bowls, three All-Pros), Williams (five Pro Bowls, one All-Pro), Adams (three Pro Bowls, one All-Pro), Whitner (two Pro Bowls), and Landry (two Pro Bowls) are among the high-profile safeties (one Pro Bowl).

Huff and Barron both played eight seasons but did not make the Pro Bowl.

Taylor has the potential to be the best in his bunch. In his first four seasons, the former Miami Hurricane earned two Pro Bowl appearances. His career, however, was cut short when he was tragically murdered in 2007.

Aside from their high NFL draft ranking, these guys have one thing in common: they’ve all played for awful teams. In their careers, these eight players appeared in a total of 30 postseason games, yet none of them won a Super Bowl.

That is, at least in part, their fault, as talented as some of these guys were.

Safeties who are highly picked get huge rookie contracts, and big rookie contracts lead to significant extensions. Unless a safety is Hall of Fame-caliber, paying a safety that much money harms a club. This is due to the position’s very little influence on the game and the ability of strong offenses to scheme around all but the finest players at the position.

No club has ever picked a safety in the top 10 during the previous two decades, and no team has ever chosen one as high as No. 2. That’s why, as Mel Kiper Jr. forecasts, the Detroit Lions drafting Kyle Hamilton at that place is a bad idea.

Where do such high levels of security originate from? 

Notre Dame Fighting Irish safety Kyle Hamilton, who ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. projects to go No. 2 overall in the 2022 NFL Draft to the Detroit Lions, looks on during a game.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish safety Kyle Hamilton, who ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. projects to go No. 2 overall in the 2022 NFL Draft to the Detroit Lions, looks on during a game. Kyle Hamilton | Icon Sportswire/Robin Alam

While taking a safety in the top 10 is a horrible idea that may bankrupt a franchise for years, selecting an excellent safety in the first round of the NFL draft isn’t necessarily a bad idea.

Looking at the best of the best at the position over the last two decades, it seems that the optimal time to choose a safety is in the mid to late first round. Here are a few players that fit under the category:

  • Ed Reed, Baltimore Ravens, No. 24, 2002
  • No. 16 Troy Polamalu, Pittsburgh Steelers, 2003
  • Earl Thomas, Seattle Seahawks, No. 14, 2010
  • 2018 Derwin James, Los Angeles Chargers, No. 17

These four first-round safeties have a combined total of 26 Pro Bowl appearances, 13 All-Pro selections, 45 postseason games, four Super Bowl championships, and (so far) two Hall of Fame busts.

There have also been a slew of Pro Bowl and All-Pro safety in the recent two decades who entered the league in the second round or later in the NFL draft.

All of this should demonstrate why, despite Mel Kiper Jr.’s best efforts, the Detroit Lions selecting Kyle Hamilton second overall would be historically foolish.

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RELATED: Dan Orlovsky Likes Malik Willis’ ‘Josh Allen Type of Vibes’ in the NFL Draft

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