OT #65 Jerald Hawkins, Louisiana St.*

6’6” – 305 lbs. – 5.25e

Redshirted in 2012, then took over as the team’s starting right tackle in the following season, with one start at left tackle (Furman.) Reprised his role as a sophomore, then slid over to the left side to replace La’el Collins as a junior. Tall offensive linemen with reasonable bulk, although his weight distribution is slightly off; looks a bit top-heavy with thinner legs. Because lack of lower-body strength carries over into his game, will probably need to spend some time in a pro strength program before he’s ready to contribute. Competitive on-field temperament, although he doesn’t appear to have much of a killer instinct. Has trouble with balance, is a waist-bender who tends to overextend in an attempt to engage opponents. Consequently, ends up on the ground far more often than he should. Also falls off blocks by lowering his head into contact or missing his initial punch; questionable hand placement. When he is positioned well, however, has active feet and enough strength to drive opponents off the line as a run blocker. Rarely asked to get out to the second level or lead the way by pulling for a screen, although he has some short-area quickness when asked to hook an opponent; a lot of his run-blocking work comes on slants as opposed to drive blocking. On passing downs, often works with help on the edge. Has some trouble with awareness in blitz pickup; allowed a few clear paths to the quarterback by blocking down and missing an opponent rushing off the edge. Can get enough depth to protect the edge against speed, although his technique looks somewhat mechanical; somewhat of a lumbering and rigid mover. More likely to attempt to “catch” opponents with his body rather than extending his arms; consequently, as a relatively thin-legged tackle, can often be walked back into the quarterback, or at the very least driven a few yards into the backfield. A pretty raw player despite spending four years in college and three years in the starting lineup of an SEC team; whether that’s due to poor coaching or reflects negatively on Hawkins himself is something to be determined by pro teams. Most of his major weaknesses can be traced back to either poor technique or a lack of lower-body strength, so there’s some potential for improvement if teams are willing to be patient. Experience on both sides of the line will help, although he looked more comfortable on the right side and will probably be limited there as a pro as well. Probably more of a third-day value, especially given the depth at tackle this year.

Games watched: Auburn (’14), Alabama (’15), Mississippi St. (’15)

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