Anatomy of a WR – Cobi Hamilton

By G.Stryker

His name is Cobi Hamilton, and he is another good sized receiver at 6’2″ and 205 lbs. He is not the fastest, registering a 4.56 sec 40 yard dash at the combine, but he is still able to get space and fight for contested balls. He was productive for Arkansas setting school records for receptions and yards his senior year. He also had a game where he amassed an SEC record 303 yards receiving!

Cobi bounced around a few teams’ practice squads (Cinci, Philly, Cinci, Miami, Carolina) before finding his first game action as a Steeler. He scored a TD in his first game, and even was named as a starter a few times this past season. Making a leap in his 4th season to finally get some game actions, merits some review.

Let’s take a look at Cobi’s highlights.

23sec This is a body trap, with his palms facing toward him to pin the ball against his chest. Instead of being a 3-point trap, by using both hands against his body, he appears to only make the trap with one hand. It looks like he hand checks the defender and gets space, and then he makes another late adjustment, just before the ball gets to him. He twists his body partially to open his chest up to the football which is good, but his foot placement gets wonky and he loses his balance when he hops and his leg hits his other leg. Cobi then reaches out with his other hand to break his fall (which takes another hand away from the football and can lead to incompletions), yet still hits the ground hard. He was lucky to hang on with one hand pinning the ball against his chest. The best way to catch this ball, would have been to open his entire body up to the ball and catch it in front of him with his thumbs together. Justin Hunter’s film shows you how this catch should be made.

0:28 On the replay, the point of the football touched the ground, fortunately, the ball never moved, and it’s a good catch. It just shows you how close a good catch can be to being incomplete.

0:35 Another body catch, at least he gets both hands on the ball when it hits his chest for the trap. Still could have opened himself up and caught it with his hands.

A one handed catch as he’s being tackled. See replay next for the breakdown

0:53 a better angle on this catch. It’s a one handed stab with his left to try to deaden the ball. He does so, and is then able to get both hands on the ball to secure the catch. This should have been incomplete, but Cobi showed excellent focus on staying with the ball and making sure to secure it before he landed.

0:59 Cobi now has a tendency. He is jumping again toward the ball, to trap it against his chest with both hands. Looks like the exact same route as the first catch in his highlights, and the catch mechanics almost look exactly the same. He had better control of his feet and did a nice job getting both feet in after the catch.

This is his best catch so far. He is being defended on a jump ball. He jumps toward the ball, thumbs together, both palms open to the football the catch. The only thing I didn’t like is how he puts out a hand to break his fall. When fighting for a contested ball, the receiver is vulnerable to the DB knocking it loose if it’s not secured with both hands.

1:13 A reverse angle, close up of the previous catch. A couple things to note: You always want to catch the football on the front half so the football wedges itself in your hand placement, as the ball’s circumference increases in size. Here, Cobi actually caught the ball at the midpoint. His left hand was on the center of the ball, his right hand was behind the center of the football, and he had to reposition his hand higher on the ball to trap it against his chest. Still great focus, while he was being interfered with. The DB had all shoulder pad and was twisting him before the ball got there.

1:20 another body catch. In this instance, I don’t fault his decision to trap it in his gut, since he was well defended. I also like how he kept both hands on the ball, on this tight, contested throw. That decision secured the reception.

1:26 Another body trap using his chest and 2 hands. It looks like Codi is most comfortable having the ball hit him to catch it.

1:34 Terrible conditions. Slippery and visibility on long balls drop in the snow. Though Cobi does turn and face the pass, has both hands on it, thumbs together, and has the ball secured on impact. I imagine he lost his footing making sure he secured the reception in these tough conditions. Though he also takes his hand off the ball to try and break his fall once more.

1:40 Body trap against his chest with a defender draped on him. Again, I don’t fault his catch selection here. He knew he was being tackled and kept both hands tightly on the football through the ground.

1:50 is the closeup replay, and he does a nice job of getting low…to trap the ball against his body…

1:54 I’m just going to start calling this, the patented ‘Cobi Trap’. He traps it against his body, with a defender draped on him, then sticks his hand out to break his fall yet again.

2:00 The Cobi Trap! Secures the ball high and makes sure he is in bounds.

2:07 Finishes off his highlights with another leaping Cobi chest high Trap. Secures the ball well as he’s tackled on the throw.

Wow. I did not expect this while reviewing his highlights. Cobi Hamilton really likes using his body to make catches. Don’t get me wrong, this is a good strategy if you are well defended and you have to fight for the ball, but with Cobi’s lack of breakaway speed, every play will essentially be contended. If every play is a 50/50 ball, his stock drops.

My advice to clean up his game is:
1. Hit the Jugs machine. HARD! Only catch the ball using your hands. Get used to the feel of the ball hitting your hands. Do it all the time until it feels natural.
2.Stop putting your hand down when you are going to the ground. It opens yourself up to a few things. Possible injury to your hand, fingers, or wrist. Losing control of the ball when a defender hits your hand securing the football. Or losing the reception when you land on the ground with the ball, and the ground causes it to pop out.

Though Mr. Hamilton didn’t register a single drop, he does have some tendencies that would explain why he would drop an expected reception. I do like that Cobi is a fighter. He fought to make the roster from the practice squad. He fights well for contested balls in the air. I don’t think he will shy to the competition, and he will need to keep that fight strong to make make the squad this year.

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