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Falcons place rookie S Jaylinn Hawkins on reserve-COVID list

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The hard-hitting safety out of Cal either has COVID-19 or is being quarantined as a precaution, but we’re not likely to find out which any time soon.

NFL Combine - Day 6 Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Just yesterday, there were reports that none of the Falcons rookies tested positive for COVID-19, leading to some sighs of relief in the fanbase and likely in Flowery Branch as well. That may still be true, but rookie safety Jaylinn Hawkins is heading for the team’s reserve/COVID list.

Per the team, Hawkins is being placed on the list immediately. He’ll need two consecutive negative tests for the coronavirus in order to return to the team.

So much of the list is shrouded in mystery at the moment. It’s not clear how long Hawkins will have to remain on the list, how quickly his testing will take place, and whether he’s positive for COVID-19 or just quarantined because he came into contact with someone who did test positive. The distinction is important because we’re concerned about Hawkins’ health and how quickly he’ll be able to get back on the practice field and compete for a reserve role in this defense, but the team isn’t allowed to disclose either way, and it’ll likely be at least a week or two before Hawkins is back. It’s got to be a massive bummer for a young player the Falcons liked enough to scoop up in the fourth round, and he was likely ticketed for a backup safety gig and a significant special teams role.

That may still be the case, but in his absence the Falcons will take a harder look at players like Chris Cooper, Jamal Carter, and some of their other rookie undrafted free agents, like the intriguing Ray Wilborn. We’ll hope that all goes well for Falcons training camp and Hawkins is able to return and compete soon, as he should still be in line for a real role, but this may give another player a chance to grab a spot.

We hope, above all, that Hawkins is healthy and well. Hopefully the team will have more updates soon.