Position: Strong Safety
Height/Weight: 6’2″/209 lbs.
Age: 29/Experience: 8
Analysis: The former Dallas Cowboys Pro Bowl safety, who was released by the team back in April, signed a one-year deal with the Ravens in June to add some depth to their secondary. Hamlin had his best season in his first year with the Cowboys, recording career highs in tackles (102) and interceptions (five) and was rewarded with a six-year contract worth $39 million. The following season wasn’t as successful as Hamlin or the Cowboys had hoped, though, as he didn’t quite live up to his billing. In addition to struggling a bit, he could never quite get on track especially after missing four games due to a high ankle sprain. It didn’t help that backup safety Alan Ball showed that he was a legit replacement for Hamlin and essentially proved to Wade Phillips that he could be the team’s starting safety. The Cowboys then decided that they no longer needed Hamlin’s services and decided to release him and free up some cap space.
2010 Outlook: Hamlin is in his eighth season as a pro, and doesn’t look like he’s lost much even though his numbers over the past two seasons haven’t reflected that. He is still one of the hardest hitting safeties in the league and he also does well in coverage. However, he was signed by the Ravens to be a backup after being a seven-year starter for both the Seahawks and Cowboys. Coming off the bench is definitely going to be tough for Hamlin to get used to, but he has already said that he is willing to do what he has to for the team to win. It looked as if Hamlin would get his shot at the starting safety spot with Ed Reed expected to be out for at least the first four weeks. But Tom Zbikowski has impressed the coaches with his speed and knowledge of the defensive playbook. Zbikowski does have an advantage over Hamlin considering he was with the team last season and is more comfortable with what’s going on. There are two preseason games remaining, so Hamlin still has the chance to earn the starting role. It may be tougher than expected, but there’s nothing wrong with a little competition.
Submitted by Steve Giles