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Tre Hawkins III’s upside worth developmental role on Giants in 2023

The Giants selected Hawkins as a late-round cornerback project

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 18 Old Dominion at Liberty
Tre Hawkins III
Photo by Lee Coleman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

After solving their immediate need for a starting cornerback in the first round of the draft, the New York Giants double-dipped at the position in the later rounds. Tre Hawkins III’s athleticism made him a smart Day 3 roll of the dice. Will he find a role on the roster in his rookie season?

By the numbers

Height: 6-foot-2
Weight: 188
Age: 22
Position: Cornerback
Experience: Rookie
Contract: Four years, $3,989,520 | Guaranteed at signing: $149,520 | 2023 cap hit: $787,380

Career to date

Hawkins was selected by the Giants out of Old Dominion with the 209th pick in the draft. He stood out for his 9.82 RAS, signifying his athletic upside. He also has length for the position at 6-foot-2.

Hawkins began his college career at Trinity Valley Community College in Texas in 2018. He transferred to Old Dominion in 2020 but did not start until 2021 due to the COVID-19 season cancellation. He started all 25 games for the Monarchs from 2021-22, logging more than 1,500 combined snaps.

In 2022, Hawkins posted a 73.5 Pro Football Focus coverage grade, which ranked 67th out of 182 qualified FBS cornerbacks (min. 325 cover snaps). He did allow four touchdowns while nabbing two interceptions, resulting in a 96.8 quarterback rating when targeted, which was in the 30th percentile among corners.

The Giants likely nabbed Hawkins partially for his profile in man coverage, as he allowed a 43.8% completion rate (64th percentile), 19% forced incompletion rate (61st percentile), two touchdowns, two picks, and a passer rating of 59.1 (75th percentile). He also profiles as a hard hitter, as Nick Falato detailed, although that could get him into trouble at the NFL level.

2023 outlook

Hawkins III will likely start 2023 playing on special teams while filling out the back end of the Giants’ cornerback room. Considering his upside as an athlete, he could be an early special teams contributor; he did block a field goal in 2022. His 4.42 speed also helps.

Meanwhile, defensive backs coach Jerome Henderson will take on the task of coaching up the rookie to iron out the rough spots in his technique. I don’t expect to see Hawkins III get much defensive action in 2023, although the caveat of “barring injury” is always a weighty one where the Giants are concerned.

This was a nice developmental swing, though, due to Hawkins’ aggressiveness and man-coverage instincts. Depending on how his development goes in Year 1, he could look to carve out a bigger role for himself as a sophomore.