Kingsbury: Antonio Hamilton is Cardinals’ No. 2 cornerback ‘as of now’

Aug 19, 2022, 10:52 AM | Updated: 1:20 pm
DK Metcalf #14 of the Seattle Seahawks runs the ball after making a catch in front of Antonio Hamil...
DK Metcalf #14 of the Seattle Seahawks runs the ball after making a catch in front of Antonio Hamilton #33 of the Arizona Cardinals during the second quarter at State Farm Stadium on January 09, 2022 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

Arizona Cardinals cornerback Antonio Hamilton is no stranger to being doubted.

As of the Friday before his team’s second preseason game, his coaching staff isn’t doing much doubting.

“Antonio Hamilton’s been, really, I would say a nice surprise. But we knew what type of competitor he was,” Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury said. “I think he’s continued to ascend and really taken over that No. 2 spot, as of now.

“Physical, tough, edgy, every day has a chip on his shoulder. I really like what we’ve seen of him.”

Hamilton’s ascent comes after Kingsbury put pressure on second-year corner Marco Wilson, who played over Hamilton as a rookie last year.

After Hamilton walked on at South Carolina State and went undrafted in 2016, the 29-year-old defensive back has fought for his spot on each of the five NFL teams he’s played on in his seven-year career.

That includes the Cardinals signing him to the practice squad a week before the start of last season after the Tampa Bay Buccaneers released him as part of the team’s final roster cuts.

“Almost every year I’ve been in the league, I’ve been the last corner on the depth chart so I’ve always had to fight my way all the way up,” Hamilton said on Tuesday. “I never had any handouts (or had) any gimmies.”

Playing in 17 games (two starts) in Arizona last year, Hamilton posted 38 tackles (31 solo) to go along with one tackle for loss, four passes defended and one forced fumble while playing 312 snaps (29%) on defense and 208 (47%) on special teams.

But with the lack of depth in the Cardinals’ cornerbacks room heading into this season, Hamilton appears to be on the higher end of the depth chart.

Hamilton was featured Thursday on Peter Schrager’s Take A Chance On Me Team during NFL Networks’s Good Morning Football.

If Hamilton is able to make the most of the opportunity presented to him by Kingsbury and defensive coordinator Vance Joseph, perhaps it could also lead to the largest contract of his NFL career.

And should the dollars come, the former walk-on and undrafted pro will have completed a dream of his: to make enough money so that his mom can retire.

“Everything I’ve got in this league, I’ve earned it through and through and I’m going to continue to do it until I’m able to take care of my family in a way that I want to take care of (them). I’ve been in the league and I still haven’t gotten that opportunity yet,” he said.

Life Changer Loans

Arizona Cardinals

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) runs for a touchdown against the Carolina Panthers d...
Tyler Drake

Cardinals’ Kyler Murray: Slow starting offense ‘can’t last forever’

"I know this can't last forever," Kyler Murray told reporters postgame. "We will figure it out. I'm not making it a thing because it's not."
23 hours ago
Arizona Cardinals safety Jalen Thompson (34) celebrates with safety Budda Baker after an intercepti...
Wills Rice

Cardinals locker room unites after 1st win in Carolina since 2009

The Arizona Cardinals left Bank of America Stadium with their first win against the Panthers in Carolina since 2009.
23 hours ago
Baker Mayfield #6 of the Carolina Panthers runs with the ball against Zach Allen #94 of the Arizona...
Tyler Drake

Arizona Cardinals defense dictates Week 4 win over Panthers

While the Cardinals offense started out flat for yet another week of play, the defense was there to pick up the slack against the Panthers.
23 hours ago
Arizona Cardinals defensive end J.J. Watt plays against the Carolina Panthers during the first half...
Tyler Drake

Tearful J.J. Watt thankful to take the field in Week 4 win after heart issue

Despite going into atrial fibrillation on Wednesday, Cardinals DL J.J. Watt still managed to suit up on Sunday against the Panthers.
23 hours ago
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray scores against the Carolina Panthers during the second h...
Arizona Sports

Rapid reactions: Arizona Cardinals shake off slow start in win vs. Panthers

Despite another slow start from the Cardinals against the Panthers, Arizona's offense and defense found a groove for a 26-16 victory.
23 hours ago
Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Marquise Brown catches a pass ahead of Carolina Carolina Panthers c...
Dan Bickley

Arizona Cardinals no worse for the wear after win over Panthers

Some rules are sacred in the NFL. Like never complaining about a road victory. That includes the Cardinals’ win over the Panthers on Sunday.
23 hours ago
Kingsbury: Antonio Hamilton is Cardinals’ No. 2 cornerback ‘as of now’