Thanks to a fantastic idea from a reader we have a new series here at BTSC. There are 90 days until the Steelers' season starts in September. There are also 90 players on the Steelers, so why not give an overview of a player a day? These overviews will give you a sense of who each player is, there chance of making the team, and what they could bring to the Steelers. Let's dive in...
Player: Jerald Hawkins
Overview: The 2016 NFL draft was dominated by defensive picks when it came time for the Steelers to select players. However, in the fourth round they made one pick for need when they drafted Jerald Hawkins from LSU. The biggest need on offense is at left tackle, in fact as I type this Alejandro Villanueva just gave up a sack to the Lions in the preseason game. The position is far from settled with Villanueva and Ryan Harris the main competition for the job it's certainly plausible the Steelers would like more depth at the position.
Hawkins is an attractive option for the Steelers because he can play either tackle spot. He's particularly good at run blocking and is coming from a program that has a track record of producing quality offensive line talent.
He was advised to stay in school for his senior year but he came out early anyway. He has technique flaws that will need to be fixed if he wants to develop into a potential starter down the line. His lower body needs to add strength and his footwork need improvement so he can protect the edge from pass rushers. A year red shirting on the bench isn't out of the question. The Steelers knew he was going to be a project when they selected him, so don't be surprised if he doesn't make too much noise in 2016.
Experience at both tackle positions
Strong upper body
Good balance in pass protection
Comes from a school with a pedigree for offensive line talent
Good size for an NFL tackle
Upper body much stronger than lower body- will need to hit weight room
As a play goes on he loses the battle against the defender due to poor lower body strength
Poor footwork hinders his change of direction and ability to get to the second level
Will need a year to add strength and fix technique
Chances of Making the team: 60%