Hawkins is a good college football player in the Pac 12. He has considerable versatility as a DB, having started at CB, SS and FS at Southern California. He is instinctive, possesses good recognition and, against athletically limited offenses, he looks like a good prospect. When, however, he is up against more talented players, the flaws in his game shine through with uncomfortably lustrous brightness. He has marginal size at best (5-11, 188) for an NFL safety; he is not big or physical enough to play in the box and, as a free safety, I have concerns about his athleticism; he takes a lot of shallow angles towards the ball and lacks the speed or agility to compensate when those angles are flawed – see the 2016 Alabama game (Q2, 7:55) as an example. His tackling is also very erratic. He can be effective in small spaces but, in the open field, he tends to try to make arm tackles that are only sporadically effective. I also struggle to see how he would match up against big, physical TEs in the NFL. In short, although Hawkins should, justifiably, be highly thought of by Trojans fans, I don’t really see him as a bona fide NFL prospect at this point and I don’t have a draftable grade on him, going into the 2017 season.
There is definitely a place for Trey Marshall in the NFL, but teams will have to be careful to play to his strengths and mask his deficiencies. He has, to an extent, been a victim of his own versatility at FSU, lining up almost everywhere in the secondary. That has, however, enabled scouts to see him in all sorts of situations. To my mind, his skill-set is that of a box safety, or strong safety, in the NFL. He doesn’t have the cover skills to match up against NFL WRs; in coverage, he is scrappy, grabby, slow to turn his hips and has marginal ball skills. You don’t really want him exposed too much against WRs in space. He is, however, fast and physical enough to cover TEs and RBs effectively. In run support, Marshall is really very good; he flies to the ball like a missile and hits very aggressively; in this part of the game, he reminds me of Keanu Neal, of the Atlanta Falcons. I like a safety who looks like he bears a personal grudge towards the ball carrier and Marshall certainly falls into this category. I will be interested to see if he can bed down in one position in the 2017 season and improve his skills in the cover game. If so, he could rise quickly up draft boards. Nevertheless, I’ve already seen enough from Marshall to justify giving him a Day 2 grade.