The dynamic playmaker was a three-star prospect rated as the 26th all-purpose back in the 2018 high school recruiting class. If an NFL team, or fantasy football manager, is looking to add elite speed to their backfield, Hawkins should be at the top of their list. His quick acceleration and break-away speed make him a threat to score from anywhere on the field.
The college football world was put on notice during ‘Joystick’s’ sophomore season, as he totaled 1,526 rushing yards, 5.8 yards per carry and nine touchdowns. Hawkins opted out of the 2020 season after eight games but managed to gain 822 yards, while scoring seven times, averaging 6.2 yards per carry. It was encouraging to see Hawkins more involved in the passing game this past season, where he finished with a career-high 16 receptions for 127 yards and one touchdown.
Tape Review: Strengths and Weaknesses
Besides his speed, Hawkins has short-area quickness and acceleration that gets him through holes to the second level and around edges. He is a fantastic athlete who will make defenders miss with quick feet and is lethal when he gets into the open field. He has good vision allowing him to constantly find free space to use his speed. Hawkins was not used much in the passing game but is a capable receiver out of the backfield. If he can establish himself as an excellent pass-catcher, his floor will be a third-down back with the potential for much more.
At 5-foot-9 and 196 pounds, Hawkins is not going to overpower defenders with strength and his lack of size is a detriment in pass-blocking. NFL teams will want to get him into space to utilize his speed but he will need to improve in pass protection if he is on the field on third downs.
Pro Day Performance
The numbers solidified that Hawkins is small but fast and explosive. He could be a team’s ideal third-down back.
Arm Length: 2928
Hand Size: 0778
40 Yard Dash: 4.48
Vertical Jump: 36
Broad Jump: 9-08
20 Yard Shuttle: 4.23
The Atlanta Falcons signed Hawkins as an undrafted free agent. With no draft capital, Hawkins will be a long shot to make the roster. The lone bright spot is that the Falcons depth chart at running back is thin.
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