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What Brad Hawkins brings to the Atlanta Falcons

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A veteran who still has a lot to prove to NFL scouts.

Rutgers v Michigan Photo by Gaelen Morse/Getty Images

This article was part of a pre-draft series on Michigan prospects.

Michigan safety Brad Hawkins isn’t the fastest prospect, he isn’t the strongest, but he has attributes that could land him on an NFL roster.

The 6-foot-1, 221 pound safety had his most productive season at Michigan in 2021, compiling 60 tackles (40 solo) and forcing two fumbles.

Strengths

  • Size and length
  • Good job setting the edge
  • Durability and experience: Appeared in a program-record 56 games, including 31 starts at free safety.
  • Special teams experience
  • Reliable tackler
  • Improved in man-coverage throughout career
  • Above-average against the run
  • Great attitude, leader, willing to listen and improve his craft

Weaknesses

  • Doesn’t have great speed
  • Never hauled in an interception in college
  • For his size he could be a harder hitter
  • Will have a harder time in run-support in the NFL, may get out-muscled regularly by NFL lineman and tight ends

Conclusion

Hawkins was a reliable contributor on Michigan’s defense, his veteran leadership was an asset in 2021. He’s a very likable person, and he did have some clutch plays throughout the season. However, Hawkins isn’t someone who makes lots of ‘wow’ plays. He’s never intercepted a pass, he rarely made a tackle that was bone-crushing, and he never recorded a sack either. Further, Hawkins doesn’t have above-average speed and there isn’t one area of his game that would be defined as stellar.

For these reasons it’s hard to see Hawkins being drafted before the fifth round, and he could slip to the sixth or later. Hawkins played a lot of ball at Michigan, but scouts won’t be enamored about that — he’s a developmental prospect nonetheless who will have to make major strides if he wants to stick around in the NFL.