2022 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Brad Hawkins

Brad Hawkins

We’ve hit the point of the draft season where we look for those sleeper players. Brad Hawkins is one of these guys. While the Michigan defense is producing players like Aidan Hutchinson, David Ojabo, and Daxton Hill, Hawkins was the glue of this unit. The former three-star recruit was a five-year player and a big-time leader. Now, the question begs if this college warrior can translate his play into the NFL. 

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

Player Bio

Name: Brad Hawkins
Jersey: No. 2
Position: Safety
School: Michigan
Class: Senior
Height: 6’1″
Weight: 220 lbs

Games Watched: Wisconsin (2021), Penn State (2021), Wisconsin (2020)

Major Injury History: None


Player Breakdown

Instincts (12.25/15)

Hawkins has average instincts, which isn’t the greatest start. He’s quick to react once the play starts but is inconsistent when he wants to attack. Hawkins struggled to react quickly to routes down the sideline on Cover 2 schemes and needed more balance on RPO coverage. The negatives are clearly there, but Hawkins has done a good job showing nice flashes. He’s succeeded against swing screens and stayed balanced on misdirections in 2021, something the Michigan defense as a whole has had troubles with in the past. 

Range (10.5/15)

Range will be Hawkins’ biggest problem at the next level. Hawkins will not be able to play single-high safety just because he isn’t the most sufficient mover. Still, the range isn’t so bad to the point where he can’t have an NFL career, like Paris Ford last year. On the other hand, Hawkins has shown good closing speed, downhill. This allows him to get involved in the running game, where he may excel most. 

Man Coverage (8.75/10)

Playing in a Don Brown system for most of his career, Hawkins has tons of experience in man coverage. While he got beat in the 2020 game, there was an extremely high dosage. After Michigan switched to defensive Macdonald for 2021, Hawkins looked great with a more realistic sample size of man coverage. The size and ability here make Hawkins a nice candidate to take on tight ends at the next level, especially because he’s dominated tight ends against Penn State. 

Zone Coverage (7.75/10)

Hawkins is relatively new to high zone coverage usage, but he’s been a bit over the average with his play. Being the leader Hawkins is, you can actively see him directing players into while dropping into his own zone. This is a guy who knows the game exceptionally well, even if he can’t execute sometimes. Hawkins needs to improve on reading the quarterback’s eyes to jump to the ball and being decisive. Otherwise, Hawkins is serviceable in two-high deep zones and hooks when put in the box. 

Ball Skills (6.75/10)

A five-year playing career with no interceptions is cause for concern. If Hawkins were a linebacker, maybe this wouldn’t be the case, but he’s often in a position to at least make a play on the ball. Hawkins has been able to deflect some balls, a total of eight in his career. Additionally, his length allows him to make it difficult for a quarterback to squeeze the ball in a window. This isn’t an awful trait for Hawkins, but it isn’t something that NFL teams will love. 

Change of Direction (6.75/10)

This one has been hinted at a lot, so you probably could’ve guessed how Hawkins changes his hips. It’s simply too chunky, but not the worst ever. Hawkins’ hips are a tad below average, like the rest of his movement ability. Again, this hinders Hawkins from playing single-high safety, so he’s not a player that can fit in everyone’s scheme. 

Tackling/ Run Support (9/10)

This is Hawkins’ best ability. To start with tackling, it’s nearly impossible to beat Hawkins. He takes great angles and hits hard. Hawkins has done well to wrap up the ball carrier and makes no technical mistakes in this regard. As for the run, Hawkins is a good asset here but has been inconsistent in his involvement at times. What Hawkins has succeeded with is shedding blocks, especially in the second level. One play that impressed was against Penn State when Hawkins went 1-on-1 with the guard at the goal line and basically won the rep down 150 pounds. Teams will draft Hawkins because he’s a superb tackler, and it will get him on the field early on. 

Versatility (7.75/10)

Hawkins lined up everywhere for Michigan. In 2020 when he played man most, he was put outside, in the slot, two-deep, and single-high safety. In 2021, he was used in similar spots, along with within the box a ton and on red-zone blitzes. While having experience is great for versatility, we have well stated by now that Hawkins won’t be playing all these spots with the limitations on his athleticism. 

Athleticism (6.5/10)

Well, this one’s obvious, isn’t it? Hawkins just does not have that key athletic ability. This would be a lot easier to determine with Pro Day measurements, but we can predict for now. Expect a 40 time within the high 4.7s or even hit the 4.8s. Furthermore, Hawkins is an average jumper. Something Hawkins does do well with his athleticism is strength. This is one of the stronger safety out there, and he puts this on the film. 

Player Summary

Quite often, experience in a player is underlooked. Hawkins has tons of experience and then some. This has allowed him to become one of the smartest players out there. But, there are some issues, as we’ve mentioned. Hawkins doesn’t have the athleticism to become a superstar player in this league. Where he can give value is in his man coverage and tackling ability. Teams like the New England Patriots, Green Bay Packers, or even Buffalo Bills would love a guy like Hawkins, especially if they can get him in the fourth or fifth round. This is the consensus projection for Hawkins as he teeters on the edge of late Day 2 and early Day 3. Hawkins will have a sustainable NFL career but not make tons out of it. 

Rookie Projection: Backup Defensive Back

Third-Year Projection: Rotational Defensive Back

Player Grade (76/100): Fourth-Round

Player Comparison: Rayshawn Jenkins

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Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images


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