NFL Draft Profile: San Diego State CB Tayler Hawkins
Tayler Hawkins played solid defense at SDSU and hopes to get a chance at the pros.
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Does the corner from Palm Springs get drafted next week?
Tayler Hawkins is an uncommon rare 24-year-old entering the NFL 2022 draft. The Palm Springs native enrolled at San Diego State in 2016, redshirted his freshman year, and used his COVID eligibility for a sixth year with the Aztecs.
Hawkins brought experience to the 2021 secondary alongside a group of underclassmen who needed to see what good defense needs to look like.
A ballhawk of a cornerback from Palm Springs High, Hoke lined Hawkins up in special teams and at safety before moving him back to his natural position in 2020, across now NFL CB Darren Hall. He entered the 2021 season looking to improve his technique and skills in his final year and now hopes of making the league.
Hand: 09 3/8
Arm: 30 1/2
Wingspan: 73 1/8
40 Yrd Dash: 4.53
20 Yrd Dash: 2.63
10 Yrd Dash: 1.56
Vertical Jump: 36 1/2
Broad Jump: 09’08”
20 Yrd Shuttle: 4.34
3-Cone Drill: 7.21
40 Time Range: 4.52-4.53/Projected 4.54
225 Lb. Bench Reps: 14
Hawkins is a solid defender who can keep up with receivers and make late adjustments to break up passes. His hands are great and made significant progress his senior year where he had two interceptions and 10 passes defended, the best output as an Aztec. According to NFL Draft Buzz, he has an “athletic build with plenty of room for additional muscle mass – a legitimate NFL-caliber athlete.”
In Brady Hoke’s defense, the cornerback was not afraid to make contact on run plays, accumulating 62 total tackles and forcing one fumble in 2021. His best single-game tackling line was against UCLA in 2019 with 10 total tackles, which included his snaps on special teams.
Much of the San Diego State secondary was susceptible to the deep ball, and Hawkins was not immune to that. He does not have that close-out speed to hone in on receivers who get past him. Draft experts say he “needs to show better tackling technique to consistently finish.” Despite having the prototypical corner physique, he tends to give too much space to his defenders and his agility will be tested against NFL receivers.
Despite his improvement in skill, many draft boards do not have him listed in their mock drafts. If he goes to the NFL, it is probable Hawkins receives a call as an undrafted free agent.