Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
As the fifth overall pick in the 2006 NFL Draft, Hawk looked like a safe bet to be an instant star at the professional level.
In his six-year career, Hawk has missed only two games, both of which were last season. Despite hovering around a respectable 100 tackles per season, Hawk has failed to consistently make eye-opening, impact plays.
Last season may have been Hawk’s quietest as a professional. Registering a career-low 84 tackles, Hawk failed to record an interception, and he didn’t force a single fumble for the fourth consecutive season.
The former Ohio State standout has been better known for his long hair than his success on the field, and after cutting his lengthy locks this offseason, his snap count may undergo a similar makeover.
In limited action last season, inside linebacker D.J. Smith looked like he could have been a steal as a fifth-round pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. In a recent series from Pro Football Focus called “Secret Superstars,” Smith was tabbed as Green Bay’s unheralded “superstar.”
When Hawk has struggled on the field, the Packers have not hesitated to keep him on the sideline. If he continues to decline in 2012, Packers fans may be seeing even less of Hawk and more of Smith.