Rookie Profile – Javian Hawkins

Javian Hawkins- RB- Louisville

Javian Hawkins was an extremely productive running back the past two years with Louisville, making for an interesting rookie profile. It surprised many analysts around the industry to see him go undrafted, as he was assumed to be a late round draft pick. Luckily, he was a priority undrafted free agent addition to a wide open Atlanta Falcons backfield.

Draft Results

Undrafted Free Agent
Team: Atlanta Falcons

Measurables

Age: 21

Height: 5′ 8″

Weight: 183 lbs

40-yard dash: 4.46

3-cone drill: 6.95

20-yard shuttle: 4.25

Vertical Jump: 36″

Broad Jump: 116″

Bench Press: DNP

College Stats

Rushing Receiving
Year
Team
Class
GP
Att
Yds
YPA
TD
Rec
Yds
YPC
TD
2018
Louisville
Fr.
2
2
8
4.0
1
4
4.0
2019
Louisville
RS Fr.
13
264
1525
5.8
9
4
58
14.5
2020
Louisville
RS So.
8
133
822
6.2
7
16
127
7,9
1
College Career

As a true freshman, Javian Hawkins only saw the field in two games. Only touching the ball three times for 12 yards, he was able to retain his year of eligibility and the team decided to redshirt him. He hit the field running in his redshirt freshman campaign, becoming the clear cut running back one for the Louisville backfield. He amassed 1500+ rushing yards and 9 touchdowns. He caught the ball 4 times for 58 yards as well.

As a redshirt sophomore, Javian continued his rushing dominance. In only 8 games he rushed for 822 yards and 7 touchdowns. He was also able to add more in the receiving game by hauling in 16 receptions for 127 yards and an additional score. Following the 8 games he played for Louisville, Hawkins opted out for the remainder of the season to prepare for the NFL draft. Overall Hawkins tested fairly well, translating to a 52nd percentile Burst Score, 74th percentile Agility score but a 21st percentile Speed Score with a 4.46 pro day 40 time (per playerprofiler).

Scouting Report

Positives

Javian Hawkins provides that second gear when he gets into the open field to be considered a home run threat on any play. His vision at the line of scrimmage allows him to navigate to the second level on a consistent basis. He shows patience to allow his blockers to set up in front of him and displays great burst to make his way through the open hole. Additionally, he identifies cutback lanes extremely well and efficiently. Once he gets to the second level he has the elusiveness to get past the linebackers and into the open field where he can take off.

Hawkins’ physicality can be hit or miss, but when it hits it is quite impressive for a back that isn’t known for his size. In college he showed potential to break tackles and would often keep his legs churning to pick up additional yards. He would shrug off tackles and show contact balance to stay upright and keep the play alive. Showing really nice acceleration after the point of contact he would get back up to full speed immediately. His hands were impressive in the limited sample size he put on tape. Very rarely would he let the ball hit his chest, consistently catching with soft hands while also displaying a solid catch radius for his quarterback.

Negatives

Size is the biggest knock on Javian Hawkins, really not possessing the prototypical bellcow running back size. At 5’8” 183lbs, he can provide a very niche role as a change of pace back, but it’s hard to project a player at that size to carry a significant workload. This limited his ability to be consistently physical when running the ball. His lack of physicality also played a part in his pass protection, rarely doing more than getting in the way of a defender. Working on pass protection technique will be a must for Hawkins as sometimes he wasn’t even able to get in the way of the defender. Additionally, his lack of receiving game work is worrisome. He showed more during his final year of college and he looked good in that limited sample size. This will have to be an area of his to monitor going forward.

Post Draft Analysis

Draft Capital:

Undrafted Free Agent

Landing Spot:

While Javian Hawkins wasn’t drafted in the NFL draft, he was a priority UDFA addition for the Atlanta Falcons. The Falcons have been working to find a replacement for Devonta Freeman since his last productive year in 2017. They have brought in players such as Ito Smith and Brian Hill. Atlanta tried letting Tevin Coleman be the lead back and when that didn’t work, they turned to Todd Gurley after the Los Angeles Rams let him go.

As of right now, Atlanta brought in another aging veteran running back in Mike Davis to be the presumed running back to lead the backfield. Following Davis, the depth chart is wide open with names such as Qadree Ollison and Tony Brooks-James. Hawkins has every opportunity to secure the running back two position in this backfield and earn early playing time alongside Davis. Mike Davis is also only on a two year deal that Atlanta can easily get out from following the 2021 season. So if Hawkins impresses enough, there is a path for him to be the lead back in the Atlanta Falcons’ rushing attack. While he doesn’t have the size currently to be a bellcow, he could still garner 60-70% of the workload if he really impresses the organization. This is a bit of a long shot though as we do have to remember that he was undrafted for a reason.

 

Fantasy Impact

The Atlanta Falcons had a depleted running back room and did nothing to address it during the draft. Signing Hawkins as an undrafted free agent adds to their depth behind Mike Davis and gives them a dart throw to see if Hawkins can develop into a player that can make an impact on the field consistently. In redraft, Hawkins could be a late round flier as a handcuff to Mike Davis, but it is most likely Hawkins goes undrafted. If Davis were to ever go down, Hawkins could be a priority waiver add if he ends up impressing this offseason. In dynasty leagues, Hawkins is going in the mid to late 3rd round of superflex rookie drafts. He is a high end dart throw due to his situation and the traits we saw from him in college. But we do have to remember it’s very rare for these UDFAs to hit despite what we have seen from Phillip Lindsay and James Robinson in recent years. In the late third round, dynasty managers could do a lot worse.

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Image Credit: Jamie Rhodes – USA TODAY Sports