2021 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Javian Hawkins

2021 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Javian Hawkins

by April 19, 2021 0 comments

Javian Hawkins is one of the most electric prospects in this draft. It might be hard to find him on the field due to his stature and insane speed, but the defense surely knows where he is at at all times. Well, if they do not, then six points better be put up on the board already. Hawkins has been a crucial part of Lousiville’s dynamic trio (along with Malik Cunningham and Chatarius Atwell) for the past three years.

Without him, this offense could not function: the other backs for Louisville have little to no impact on the game. The question for all three is pertinent in everyone’s minds: are they just college gimmicks, or are they real NFL prospects? Let’s see if Hawkins can translate his game to the next level.

Make sure to check out all of our other 2021 NFL Draft Scouting Reports.

Player Bio

Name: Javian Hawkins

Jersey: #10

Position: Running Back

School: Louisville

Class: Junior

Height: 5’8”

Weight: 183 lbs

Vision (7.75/10) 

This was pleasantly surprising. Hawkins’s vision may be his best trait. His feel for when to bounce outside or just lower his head to squeeze out more yards is NFL caliber. The former Cardinal rarely makes a poor read, which is quite astounding, given his draft position on many boards. Hawkins does have a consistent flaw, however: he bumps into his linemen quite often. This pushes him off course and it also slows him down. Running lanes are not open for long, so this is quite a dangerous trait to have, especially in the NFL. 

Hawkins’s best aspect of his vision, on the other hand, is the fact that he can produce on his own. The Cardinals’ offensive line is not the greatest, so a running lane is not always there. Hawkins definitely makes the most out of every play, thanks to his solid awareness and vision. It is a breath of fresh air to see a running back create on his own because most of the time the play does not work out the way the offense dreamed it up to be. 

Ball Security (4.25/10) 

Although he fumbled three times this past year, Hawkins only has four fumbles in his entire career (zero in 2019). The ball appeared to be easy to punch out the times that he lost the ball: the defender did not look like he made much of an effort to dislodge it. What is more so terrifying is Hawkins’s size. In the NFL, there will be players that he faces in the linebacking corps that are (example: Zaven Collins) almost 70 pounds heavier than he is. One major collision could do the trick. Hopefully, the fumbling trend stops in 2020, but all signs point to that not being a likely possibility.

Balance (6.5/10) 

Hawkins does not crumble at first contact. He stays upright when bouncing off his own linemen, and he keeps his legs churning to grind out extra yards when engaged with defenders. This is highly sought after at the next level. Hawkins is not perfect: he can go down on first contact, but he at least appears to not fold like paper when being hit. He also has a solid move set that requires a solid core. Overall, balance is not a liability whatsoever, but by no means is Hawkins a contact-balance back. 

Ability to Break Tackles (5.25/10) 

This was a surprise. Sure, Hawkins can break a tackle or two here and there, but it is not consistent. He rarely breaks the first contact, but he does make the most out of the play beforehand. There are instances of elusiveness and slipperiness. When combined with Hawkins’s lethal spin move, there is a lot of potential to be had. Consistency is the key to the average score. This score would have been closer to eight if it were a pre-tape evaluation. This was a big letdown, 

Straight-line Speed (6.5/10) 

Honestly, Hawkins has solid speed. He does not look like he will scorch anyone around him, but he can run with most. Cunningham seemed to always get in front to block even when Hawkins was running at full speed. That feels weird to say that the quarterback can blow past their running back to block for them, but it happened consistently. Defenders seemed to be able to get angles on Hawkins to track him down, but that should not diminish the high 4.4 40-yard dash speed on tape. The pro day results came out reading a 4.46-second 40-yard dash, so the testing numbers and tape numbers work well together.   

Burst (8.5/10) 

Hawkins can make a name for himself just with his burst. Unlike Najee Harris, he can move very well horizontally. Why does this matter? Zone run schemes require horizontal movement while keeping the running back’s eyes downfield to choose the right hole. That is exactly Hawkins’s role at the next level. He moves very smoothly in all directions. That is thanks to his extremely quick feet that always keep him in a position to adjust to the developing situation around him. There is a lot to like here, and hopefully, Hawkins can improve upon it as he develops in the NFL. 

Receiving (5.0/10) 

Hawkins is nothing special as a receiver, but he has earned respect for what he can do after the catch. His separation is solid enough, but do not think that James White’s routes are even close to Hawkins’. The Louisville product can go to work using his elusiveness and burst to make people miss in the open field, not to mention using his vision to carve a path to the endzone. So long as he does not fumble, Hawkins should be reliable as a dump-down and screen option. After all, he only caught 21 passes on his entire three-year career. 

Blocking (5.75/10) 

Hawkins obviously will not be a main blocking back at the next level, but he is willing to lay his body down for his signal-caller. There were many instances where linebackers came clean through the middle, and the former Cardinal took on the blocking assignment with zero hesitation. That is commitment. Let’s put it this way: Hawkins should not be blocking consistently, but he certainly can if it is required of him. Remember his size and then it will make sense why repeated blows by linebackers may not be the wisest position to put him in.

Versatility (3.25/10) 

This one hurts. Hawkins is a great one-cut back for an outside zone scheme, but that is about it. Scheme-wise, he fits that and a spread offense like Louisville’s. With his par receiving ability, it is hard to even slot him in a spread offense. Obviously, Hawkins is not a power back, nor should he be used in goal-line situations. There are quite a few goal-line carries, and they are not pretty.  

Competitive Toughness (4.25/5)  

Hawkins usually fights to the whistle blows. He is willing to lay his body down for a block, but there are many instances where he is walking on the field when the play is still going on. Walking on the field is a big negative, to begin with, let alone when a play is going on. 

Injury (2.5/5)

Hawkins has missed games every year due to injury. This appears to be a concern for the future as well, given his size. Hopefully, NFL medical staff can make sure that he avoids unnecessary injuries so that he can play to his best capabilities. 

Player Summary 

Hawkins was almost the opposite product that was thought of going into this report. He has vision and burst only a few in this class possess. The speed, receiving ability, and break tackle categories were a major surprise in the wrong way. It is obvious that Hawkins has a role in the NFL, but it was not the one that initially was thought of at first glance. Hopefully, his injuries and receiving both improve drastically, because if they do, he can be the next Giovani Bernard.

Given the lack of experience at Lousiville in the receiving game, let’s assume that consistent practice and coaching in the NFL will boost this ability. For now, Hawkins will serve as a role-playing back on first and second downs as a one-cut runner. The potential is endless, but the impact will be minimal until he fixes those issues and avoids those injuries.

Final Grade (59.5/100): Fourth Round

Player Comp: Giovani Bernard

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