(Photo courtesy University of Alabama)
The fourth Alabama defensive player selected by the Redskins in the last two years, linebacker Shaun Dion Hamilton says he's bringing the right mindset with him to Washington.
When Shaun Dion Hamilton was healthy during his career at the University of Alabama, he was a playmaker in the middle of the Crimson Tide’s defense.
In four seasons at Alabama, Hamilton recorded 134 tackles (65 solo) along with 4.5 sacks, two fumbles forced and two interceptions.
Prior to a season-ending knee injury last fall, Hamilton tallied 40 tackles in nine games during his senior season. His best performance of the season came against Florida State in the opener, as was named SEC Defensive Player of the Week after eight tackles, 3.5 of which were for loss.
“I think that I can bring a physical linebacker who is tough, a guy who is going to be the signal caller, a guy who is going to make the coaches’ job easier and the guy who's going to be able to make the plays,” said Hamilton, who was selected by the Washington Redskins in the sixth round of the 2018 NFL Draft.
Just a natural-born winner so I'm willing to do whatever it takes to help the team. It's all about the team, not about myself.”
Although Hamilton suffered a fractured knee cap in November preventing him from doing any on-field work at the NFL Combine, he said he’s been cleared to resume football activities.
“I'm just continuing to rehab and things like that,” Hamilton said. “I'm about 85-90 percent right now, so I'm going to be full speed by the time of training camp.”
While Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said it’s “just a coincidence” that Hamilton was the fourth Alabama defensive player taken by Washington in the last two drafts, the six-foot, 228 pounder stood out on film.
“I think watching him alongside Reuben Foster last year, watching the impact that he had on that defense, the way he communicated it, talking to the coaches and the players that played with him, how smart he is, how he anticipates things, it’s a great add for us,” Gruden said.
Hamilton said that being at Alabama taught him accountability, which, of course, is a foundational element of being a successful inside linebacker
“You know, how important it is for all 11 guys on the field to do their job, not just for 20 plays of the game, but every single play counts, every single inch counts,” Hamilton said. “Accountability is the biggest thing I've learned there.”
With the Redskins, Hamilton will have to compete for not only playing time, but for a spot on the roster at a deep position group.
That’s something he’s been used to for years now with so many five-star recruits at Alabama.
“You can never get comfortable there, which helps you translate to the NFL because, I mean… teams are always looking for guys because of course guys are getting older,” Hamilton said. “So Alabama, they train us to never get comfortable. So, I will never be comfortable a day again in my life, whether it’s from working a regular job or I’m playing football.”