Louisville football has the opportunity to put a multitude of players in the NFL via the 2021 draft. Of those, Javian Hawkins may have the best chance to be drafted the highest of any of those that have declared from Louisville.
After being on pace for his second straight 1,000 yard rushing season, Hawkins decided to opt out to prepare for the NFL Draft after eight games.
Hawkins was a two-year starter for Louisville where he logged 399 total carries for 2,355 yards and 16 touchdowns. At 5’9″ 182-pounds, Hawkins goes down as one of the best backs in Louisville school history.
Now, it’s his time to advance his career to the professional level where there are plenty of teams in need of an extremely quick and fast running back in today’s NFL.
Unfortunately for Hawkins, Scott Satterfield’s scheme does not often utilize running backs as pass catchers. Hawkins has very limited time running routes and catching the ball with just 21 career receptions to his name.
Although he has size limitations, Hawkins should be a back that gets prioritized on day three due to his elite athleticism and potential to grow as a pass catcher.
Who are the best NFL team fits for Hawkins?
San Francisco 49ers
The only proven commodity the 49ers have under contract for 2021 is Raheem Mostert. Head coach Kyle Shanahan rotates his running backs in a committee-based system where he rides the hot hand. Mostert may be the cemented starter, but Hawkins makes sense as an impactful day three pick in his offense.
Shanahan’s offenses require speed and burst from its running backs with other traits coming secondary in his innovative wide zone run scheme. It’s an offense familiar to what Hawkins was accustomed to and had success with at Louisville.
Running back may not be the top need on the draft board for the 49ers, but it would be hard to convince Kyle Shanahan to pass on a quality speed back on day three.
One caveat here is that, under Shanahan’s guidance, the 49ers have only selected one running back (Joe Williams, BYU, 2017). That was a fourth round expenditure.
Perhaps he is ready to dip back into the draft for another offensive weapon.