Falcons UDFA Deemed ‘Most Talented Back on the Roster’

Javian Hawkins

Getty Javian Hawkins #10 of the Louisville Cardinals went undrafted in the 2021 NFL Draft.

It’s easy to sleep on the Atlanta Falcons run game as it’s been non-existent over the past four seasons.

However, that could change this year with the addition of veteran running back Mike Davis, but more importantly, undrafted free agent Javian Hawkins.

Hawkins, who went undrafted in April, is the Falcons’ “most talented back on the roster,” according to NFL analyst Thor Nystrom.

He’s also convinced that between Hawkins and tight end Kyle Pitts, opposing defenses will have a hard time stacking the box, if able to at all.

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Hawkins Opted Out in the Midst of the 2020 Season

During a covid-19 plagued season at Louisville, Hawkins opted out after eight games and declared for the NFL draft. That could have hurt his draft chances.

He ended the season as Louisville’s leading rusher, rushing for 822 yards and seven touchdowns on 133 carries to average 6.2 yards per carry.

Before becoming a redshirt freshman, Hawkins rushed just twice for eight yards. But once coach Scott Satterfield stepped in the head coaching role, the 5-foot-9, 196-pound speed back found his spark. Hawkins’ 1,525 rushing yards that 2019 season ranked seventh in the nation and broke Howard Stevens’ single-season school rushing record by a running back. It also earned him All-ACC Second-Team honors.

Hawkins should be beyond excited to join an Atlanta Falcons team that is in full running back makeover mode with Todd Gurley, Ito Smith, and Brian Hill no longer on the roster.

The Falcons backfield depth chart currently consists of Qadree Ollison, Tony Brooks, Davis and Hawkins.


Ollison Left a Swooning Impression at OTA’s

Davis was unable to attend all of OTA’s this month, which left Ollison stealing the spotlight.

Olllison’s performance left a swooning impression on head coach Arthur Smith, but it’s still too soon to know what his final role will look like for the season.

“Q has done a nice job, but again, at this point, all that we are basing it off of is what we’ve thrown at him,” Smith told reporters following the last day of mandatory minicamp. “He’s doing a really nice job with the mental part and the (pass) protections. I’m very happy with his progress.”

Ollison was originally drafted out of Pittsburgh by the Falcons in the fifth round during the 2019 NFL Draft. He showcased a promising rookie season, having 22 carries and four rushing touchdowns. However, after struggling with pass protection in his second year with Atlanta, Ollison was buried on the running back depth chart, ending 2020 playing in only three games.
Hawkins, whose pass protection shined throughout college, wasn’t singled out during OTA’s but we still have training camp to look forward to. Expect Hawkins to put up a tough fight for the RB2 job and the Falcons ground game to come alive.

 

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