2020 Season Countdown: #7 Brad Hawkins

2020 Season Countdown: #7 Brad Hawkins

October 15, 2020
Brad Hawkins (image via MLive)

Name: Brad Hawkins
218 lbs.
High school: 
Suffield (CT) Suffield Academy
Jersey number: 
Last year: 
I ranked Hawkins #33 and said he would be a backup safety (LINK). He started ten games and made 53 tackles with 1 pass breakup.
TTB Rating:

I typically have an annual “Why did PFF grade that guy so high?” situation, and the 2019 version of that guy was Brad Hawkins. He was First Team All-Big Ten to Pro Football Focus (as the “flex” defender) despite not being on the coaches’ all-conference team and only being named honorable mention by the media. He managed to get his hands on the ball just 1 time, which came in the season opener against Middle Tennessee. After three years in the program, he has just 2 career pass breakups. He is a solid tackler coming up from the third level, but is he much more than that?

Maybe. I sure hope so. Because he’s the only returning starter in the secondary. Michigan lost safety Josh Metellus and cornerback Lavert Hill to graduation/the NFL, and cornerback Ambry Thomas opted out of the 2020 season. Budding star Dax Hill also returns at safety, but Hawkins has to be a steadying force on the back end. Everyone is unproven and almost totally inexperienced behind the starters.

Hawkins has been prone to some coverage busts, and he’s a little grabby for my liking. I think he can be taken advantage of in coverage if opposing offensive lines can hold up long enough to give quarterbacks a chance to throw. But Michigan returns a couple of the top defensive ends in the conference and has a blitz-happy defensive coordinator. Hopefully Hawkins can improve his coverage a little bit while continuing to offer solid run support.

Prediction: Starting strong safety

Hit the jump for some of his 2019 highlights.

One comment

  1. Comments: 313
    Joined: 8/17/2015
    Oct 16, 2020 at 11:21 AM

    I remember Hawkins being responsible for a few blown coverages, but I don’t remember him being consistently bad. With our depleted secondary this is probably a good spot. I could understand being a few spots down the list as well, and if PFF is right I could understand a few spots higher.

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