Did Giants land a cornerback gem in the late-rounds?

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Jan 14, 2023; Orlando, FL, USA; Team Kai wide receiver Elijah Cooks (11) of the San Jose State Spartans catches a pass as Team Aina cornerback Tre Hawkins (28) of the Old Dominion Monarchs defends during the second quarter in the 2023 Hula Bowl at UCF FBC Mortgage Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rich Storry-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants have a particular interest in their first-round pick, Deonte Banks from Maryland. Banks is anticipated to play a significant part in the Giants’ defensive backfield. But another late-round draft pick is making a compelling case for inclusion – Tre Hawkins.

Emerging Talent: Tre Hawkins, The Diamond in the Rough

Hawkins, hailing from Old Dominion, could jostle his way into the 53-man roster, securing a coveted developmental spot. As a sixth-round pick, Hawkins is essentially in undrafted territory, pitted against players who could potentially outperform him and clinch his roster spot.

But a strong argument exists that Hawkins, with his impressive physique, is a promising developmental asset with considerable upside.

“I could see myself playing anywhere in the NFL,” he said, via NJ.com. “I can fit any scheme.”

Athletic Prodigy: Hawkins’ Stellar Frame and Athleticism

At 6’2″ and 188 pounds, Hawkins boasts a notable athletic background. A track standout in high school, he later transitioned to the football field, demonstrating potential to excel as a press corner at the next level, thanks to his above-average athleticism. This raw talent could be nurtured effectively with good coaching.

The Giants are fortunate to have a formidable group of coaches, spearheaded by Jerome Henderson, their specialist for defensive backs.

Training alongside Adoree Jackson and Banks should offer Hawkins an enriching learning environment packed with teachable moments.

Developmental Opportunities: Addressing Hawkins’ Challenges

The primary challenge for Hawkins lies in his football IQ, which is hindered by limited experience against high-caliber opponents. He sometimes appears a step slow to respond and ends up trailing, but his makeup speed keeps him competitive.

The Giants should prioritize giving Hawkins ample opportunities to gain experience and hone his skills. His role will likely be predominantly on the special-teams unit, possibly as a gunner or rusher off the edge against opposing field goal units.

“I’m pretty sure I’m going to have to earn my trust on special teams,” Hawkins said. “I’m looking forward to taking that role.”

Building a Solid Foundation: Focus on Fundamentals

Focusing on refining Hawkins’ footwork and overall fundamentals will help establish a strong base from which he can further develop. Although it’s unlikely he’ll feature with the starting team anytime soon, he could emerge as a two-year project, eventually evolving into a decent reserve or even a low-end starter. Considering his late-round draft pick status, this outcome would represent excellent value.

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