We’re finally approaching the beginning of the 2020 NFL season, with only a week left until the first games kick off. I’ll be continuing my Player Profile series in the meantime, where we’ll take a look at each of the players on Atlanta’s roster. I’ll break down their measurables, past production, and try to project their 2020 season with the Falcons.
After taking a look at the projected starters, we now turn our attention to the depth on the Falcons’ roster. Today I’ll be discussing CB Josh Hawkins—a former UDFA with several years of NFL experience who had a standout 2020 season in the XFL.
CB Josh Hawkins
Contract: $860K cap hit in 2020, free agent in 2021
Career Production: 32 games played, 3 games started | 43 total tackles, 3.0 TFL, 6 QB hits, 1 FF, 6 PD
2019 Production: 5 games played | 11 total tackles, 1.0 TFL | 4 PD, 2 INT (XFL)
Measurables: 5’10, 189 | 4.39s 40-yard dash, 1.51s 10-yard split, 4.09s 20-yard shuttle, 7.22s 3-cone | 40.5” vertical jump, 129” broad jump | 14 bench reps
The Falcons haven’t been shy about raiding other football leagues for talent. They did it with Younghoe Koo in 2019, and this offseason Atlanta added a number of XFL standouts including Edmond Robinson and Khari Lee. Another of those such players is CB Josh Hawkins, a former UDFA who had a promising start to his career in Green Bay before finding himself out of the league in 2019.
Hawkins signed with the Packers out of East Carolina following the 2016 NFL Draft, and impressed the coaching staff enough to make the 53-man roster out of training camp. He didn’t play much on defense, but had a small role on special teams in his rookie season. In 2017, Hawkins was thrust into a larger role due to injuries in the secondary. He played 38% of the defensive snaps in 15 games, including 3 starts, and had his most productive year in the NFL. Hawkins would fail to make the roster in 2018, and spent the season bouncing around between the Panthers, Chiefs, and Eagles. Despite only a few seasons of NFL reps, Hawkins has played in 5 playoff games in his career—3 with the Packers, and 2 with the Eagles.
Hawkins didn’t get much attention in the 2019 offseason, and found himself without a team. He was drafted by the Dallas Renegades in the XFL Draft, and played in five games there before the league shut down. Hawkins was very impressive: he put up 11 tackles, 4 PD, and 2 INTs in only a handful of games. That was apparently enough to earn him an opportunity with the Falcons. Hawkins is an exceptional athlete who lacks ideal size for an outside CB, but is versatile enough to play multiple spots and on special teams.
Projection: Josh Hawkins impressed in limited action in the XFL, and his athletic testing proves that he’s got the physical talent to succeed in the NFL. His years of NFL experience—including in the playoffs—and special teams ability should give him a leg up on the competition for the final CB spot on the roster. The big question is whether Hawkins will stick around after Jordan Miller returns from suspension in Week 4.