It’s no secret that the 2013 NFL draft does not include the star names at the top of the draft that the 2012 draft did. There’s no Andrew Luck or RG3, or even a high-profile running back like Trent Richardson. But to say the 2013 draft lacks talent would be unfair and inaccurate. While teams at the top of the draft may not have penciled-in Pro Bowlers, there is a wealth of value to be had in the second through fourth rounds.
One of the most loaded positions is cornerback, where a plethora of players from both high-profile universities and small colleges will be available in the middle rounds. One such cornerback is Terry Hawthorne from the University of Illinois.
Hawthorne was on an Illini defense that underachieved in 2012, but he remains a mid-round cornerback prospect that could possibly go in the top 100 picks.
Full Name: Terry Hawthorne (01/01/1990)
Hometown: East St. Louis, IL
High School: East St. Louis High School
Major: General Curriculum
Hawthorne was an All-American by all kinds of different sources in high school, not as a cornerback, but as a receiver. He was incredibly productive at East St. Louis, scoring over 32 touchdowns in his high school career. He stayed in his home state for college, choosing Illinois over Arizona, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas Tech.
2009: 12 games played, 30 total tackles, 5 passes defensed, 1 interception
2010: 8 games played, 28 total tackles, 3 passes defensed, 1 interception
2011: 13 games played, 61 total tackles, 8 passes defensed, 3 interceptions
2012: 11 games played, 44 total tackles, 1 sack, 6 passes defensed, 1 interception
2009: 5 kick returns, 92 yards
2011: 1 kick returns, 0 yards, 5 punt returns, 37 yards
2012: 12 kick returns, 255 yards, 3 punt returns, 9 yards
Hawthorne was productive right away at Illinois, playing in every game as a freshman (starting five) and earning Freshman All-Big Ten honors from The Sporting News. After injury issues limited his sophomore season, he went on to increase his production during his final two years, earning an honorable mention All-Big Ten status in both seasons.
Weight: 195 lbs
Arm Length: 31 1/4”
Hand Length: 8 7/8”
Combine Results (NFL.com)
40-yard Dash: 4.44 seconds
Bench Press: 13 reps
Vertical Jump: 35.5 inches
Broad Jump: 116.0 inches
Pro Day Results (nfldraftscout.com)
20-yard Shuttle: 4.24 seconds
3-cone Drill: 6.88 seconds
A lingering knee issue kept Hawthorne from a full workout during the combine, as he decided to forgo the shuttle run and cone drill. But he did both at his pro day, and looked like the elite athlete that scouts think he can be.
Hawthorne was a Swiss Army knife player in high school, playing receiver, defensive back, punter and punt returner. In fact, he was named the nation’s top receiver by Parade Magazine as a senior. He was a 4-star recruit as a wide receiver from Rivals.
Hawthorne played at wide receiver during spring practices this past season, as the Illini receiving corps was very thin. But Hawthorne didn’t end up getting utilized there throughout the season.
Hawthorne had foot surgery prior to the 2011 season, and also was knocked unconscious during a game this past season against Wisconsin. That injury history is a cautionary flag on Hawthorne’s draft stock.
Brings some pop to the party, creates turnovers with his impact and willingness to rip at the ball during the tackle. Also a solid cut tackler, throws his shoulder into the thigh of ballcarriers to stop their momentum. Reliable on containment responsibilities outside against the run and on misdirection, will rip off blocks with strong hands. Willing to meet backs head-on in the hole and gives chase to plays down the line when no receiver is on his side of the field.
While he often lined up off the receiver, he’s shown ability to press at the line and be aggressive in coverage. He has a nasty streak and a short memory that NFL teams look for in defensive backs.
Run support- Shows good strength and can control and shed blocks effectively. Takes quality angles in pursuit. Not always pretty but effectively breaks down and tackles with good leverage. Shows a strong wrap when in position and will finish with authority on occasion.
From National Football Post:
Despite first round physical talent, Hawthorne does not produce at that level. His backpedal is not consistently tight / compact and he is slow to transition out of pedal when his technique is off. His awareness/instincts are a major question mark as he is often late reading the pass and does not have a good feel for where players are within his area in "zone" coverage. For a cornerback with his physical talent, he gets turned around and is late closing, which leads to him allowing too many catches.
Lunges at ballcarriers and ducks his head coming in for tackles at times. Takes risks and lacks great ball security when fielding punts, runs with strength but lacks great elusiveness. Body-catches interceptions, will need to prove he can extend away from his frame to complete more difficult plays.
From CBS Sports:
Lanky frame with average bulk for the position and needs to get stronger. Transitional technique needs refinement and needs to do more at the line of scrimmage to reroute receivers. Susceptible to fakes and too easily bites in coverage, needing to show better discipline. Too much contact downfield and needs to show better finesse and timing.
Hawthorne has great potential as an athlete, but as a cornerback he needs considerable work in technique. He’s incredibly physical when he wants to be, and can be a solid run supporter, but his coverage will need coaching.