Anyone who moderately follows the draft will likely be seeing more scouting reports than they know what to do with for nearly the next two months. And that still won’t stop us from presenting our own report for Javian Hawkins, one of Louisville football‘s greatest running backs in program history.
A typical scouting report should have three key ingredients. A summary of the player; strengths of said player’s game; and weaknesses of their game. We will be looking at all three of those things for Hawkins here with our own twist.
Javian Hawkins, a two-year starter at Louisville, put up over 2,300 yards rushing in just 21 starts and was one of the more accomplished backs in the country despite limited reps entering the league after his redshirt sophomore year. He’s an explosive, dynamic athlete that makes up for his size deficiencies with said athleticism.
Hawkins isn’t the player that will be running guys over in space. Rather, he will be looking to run away from defenders or slip through tackles with his minute frame. Hawkins rarely slows down from his third or fourth gear which can be a blessing and a curse for him as he has bad tendencies to run himself into trouble too often at the line of scrimmage. He wasn’t the most productive pass catcher at Louisville, but there’s plenty to like about what Hawkins’ potential could bring in this area due to his fantastic explosiveness in short and long areas.
Any player that is looking for an explosive weapon at the running back position should be taking a hard look at Javian Hawkins in the 2021 draft.
Measurables: 5’9″ 196-pounds (Unofficial)
Scheme fit: Wide Zone… This is what Hawkins ran a lot of at Louisville in head coach Scott Satterfield’s offense. Hawkins’ small stature will likely limit him to living outside the tackles as opposed to between them at the next level. He certainly has the juice to hit the outside off-tackle.
The Obvious Strengths
- Long Speed
When popping on the tape, sometimes you don’t need too long to see what a player excels at. It’s very apparent early in watching him that he possesses elite acceleration and long speed for a running back. When Hawkins sees a seam, he gets through it in a hurry and can bust through the second level of a defense in a blink.
- Pass Protection
Many people will see Hawkins as a back that looks to run away from folks. But he’s a lot more than just that. He is willing to make cuts outside of his frame and rarely lets defenders square him up to get him on the ground. He’s slippery enough to run through arm tacklers who cannot wrangle him to the ground.
Louisville started to allow Hawkins to get some opportunities to catch the ball in 2020. While the sample size is small, Hawkins showed that he was more than capable of hauling in passes out of the backfield consistently with a reliable set of hands.
Lastly, even though Hawkins isn’t a big dude, he brings the fight in pass protection. He can be jarred at times and while there may be others bigger and more fit to do so at the next level, Hawkins is capable in a pinch.
The Obvious Weaknesses
- Contact Balance
Hawkins has one gear heading to the line of scrimmage and that’s to go really fast. There are certainly some very encouraging signs of him finding his cutback lanes in Louisville’s wide zone offense, but too many times he’s finding himself scrambling after running into the back side of one of his blockers.
As you’d expect for a back of his size, Hawkins isn’t going to run over tacklers or drive many piles. While he does force a lot of missed arm tackles, that can be chalked up more to elusiveness than anything else.
- Ball security
Hawkins coughed up the ball three times in eight games. That needs to be shored up if he is hoping to earn a regular rotational spot on the field for an NFL team as early as 2021.
Hawkins should be worth the selection for a team late on day two or early on day three simply due to his dynamic athleticism and pass catching upside. Teams that want to add speed to their offense will find success with Hawkins in a wide zone offense. The former Louisville football star should find himself in an NFL running back rotation in 2021.