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Buffalo Bills 2021 NFL Draft film review: Safety Damar Hamlin

The second, sixth-round pick for the Bills

We continue our Buffalo Bills 2021 NFL Draft film analysis with the second of Buffalo’s sixth-round picks. The Bills shifted back to defense by selecting Pittsburgh safety, Damar Hamlin after going offense the three picks before. Let’s hit the film couch!

Play 1

I think we can cut to the chase for Damar Hamlin. I don’t think there’s much of a chance that he usurps Micah Hyde or Jordan Poyer. As a result, many of these clips steer toward highlights to see what the Bills are hoping to tap into with their late-round defensive back. First off, check out Hamlin’s spider chart. The 10-yard split is elite while everything else is...not. With such an odd result, I’m willing to say there’s some athleticism to tap into, but the on-field results are likely more important.

All that said, Hamlin doesn’t come across as blazing fast but in coverage I found several examples of him taking good angles to potentially break up passes in his direction.

Play 2

Same thing here. If it weren’t for his hands, this is an easy pick. He jumps this route easily.

Play 3

Damar Hamlin is a little light for a safety, but is willing to jump into a pile. One of the things that consistently jumped off the screen is Hamlin’s willingness to take on contact. Not only does he enter the pile—watch closely as he keeps going right through the end.

Play 4

Here’s the same idea but one-on-one in run support. No hesitation. No surrender.

Play 5

That said, aggression isn’t everything. I wouldn’t say poor tackling form was a habit, as overall Hamlin seemed to wrap up. There’s definitely a little work to do for sure though. On the culture aspect of things though, there’s no pouting about the missed tackle. He’s right back up and chasing.

Play 6

See? This time he gets the arms around the legs and there’s zero reason to call this snap anything but a resounding success. I also like that Hamlin has eyes on the quarterback and as soon as the throwing motion starts, he’s breaking in the right direction. Reaction time isn’t easy to “teach.”

Play 7

Most of the positives I have for Hamlin surround attitude and this is a great play to end on. This shows off some of that read-and-react ability and tackling form. But what’s really great is that he shrugs off the hand to the face and highlights a high level of tenacity.


Just being candid, we all know Damar Hamlin is likely shooting for a practice-squad spot, or a possible depth option. That said, as Bills fans we should know better than most fan bases how much desire and attitude matter. If Hamlin has the same attitude while practicing as he does on the field, who knows where it’ll take him. Like we’ve seen with so many picks this year for the Bills, Hamlin seems to be a bit of a gamble. Fingers crossed for boom rather than bust.