Falcons Draft Another Defensive Gem Late in Round 4

Jaylinn Hawkins

Getty Jaylinn Hawkins #6 of the California Golden Bears intercepts a pass.

The pick is in! The Atlanta Falcons have selected former Cal U safety, Jaylinn Hawkins as their fourth-round pick at No. 134 in the 2020 NFL Draft.

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A Quick Look at Hawkins

Hawkins actually played at Cal with his younger uncle. Jaylinns dad happens to be much older than his WR brother, Jeremiah Hawkins, a receiver at Cal. But let’s get into the more important stuff than the family tree.

In 2015, Hawkins suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in the season opener that. A year later, as a redshirt freshman, Hawkins three of 12 games and had 29 tackles.

The following season Hawkins started 11 games in 2017, recording 41 stops, 1.5 for loss, and an interception.

2018 was Hawkins’ year where he tied for third in the FBS with six interceptions. He picked off three passes in the Cheez-It Bowl that year and topped it off by earning Defensive MVP honors posting 32 tackles, 3.5 for loss, three pass breakups, 12 starts in 13 games.

In his last season, Hawkins was an honorable mention All-Pac-12 pick after he led Cal with three interceptions, again. At the end of the 2019 season, he had accumulated 56 tackles, 4.5 for loss, two sacks, two pass breakups, and two forced fumbles in 13 starts.

Falcons Continue With Versatility Trend in the NFL

The Falcons a continuing their defensive grind and may have found a potential lottery ticket in Hawkins.

The NFL is changing year after year as rookies are getting bigger, stronger, and faster. Teams are now looking for faster and more athletic linebackers and safeties as opposed to bigger, stronger and slower ones of traditional, past rosters.

Falcons are all in with adding versatility to their roster and a lot of players can’t handle the switch up but Walker is one of the guys who has shown that he can play at more than one spot.

With the NFL headed in a similar direction as the NBA. Teams are learning to put the ball in the hands of their absolute best players even though the player doesn’t fit the standard prototype of what the position normally is. There are athletic running backs out there who run routes like wide receivers and linebackers who can run just as fast as cornerbacks.

Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff told AtlantaFalcons.com last month that he strongly believes you can interchange safeties.

“You get athletic safeties out there, you can interchange them,” Dimitroff said. “We have to be versatile. We have to have numbers at corners and safeties, guys who can move. It’s not just about the old in-the-box safety that can nut up on people. That person will be isolated at times when they’re trying to cover a tight end or a running back. You have to be adept enough in coverage.”

Hawkins is ready for wherever Falcons want to put him.

“I’m a very versatile player,” Hawkins said, “because I have the feet and hips to play [cornerback], I have the physicality to play linebacker, and I have the range and the ball skills to play safety. I also do returns, too.”

Welcome to the ‘A,’ Hawkins.

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