He might be the sleeper of the draft. Brent Hawkins, the Jaguars' fifth-round pick and the team's first selection of the second day of the draft, is an undersized pass-rusher the Jaguars will attempt to use in a variety of roles.
"They showed me a lot of love," Hawkins said of the Jaguars. "It showed a lot to come back and work me out. That meant a lot to me."
Hawkins, 6-2, 241, was a pass-rusher extraordinaire at Illinois State. He registered 17 sacks last season, including five against Northern Illinois. Hawkins is a player who was climbing draft boards as the draft neared and could be a steal with the 160th overall selection.
"I'm pretty confident. I don't have a doubt I can learn and become a great player; step up into a system and try to become a Pro-Bowl player," Hawkins said when asked what his expectations are for a career in the NFL.
He was a defensive end at Illinois State but he'll be used as a linebacker by the Jaguars. It's expected he was drafted as a DPR (designated pass-rusher), as Jorge Cordova was in the third round of the 2004 draft.
Ironically, Hawkins began his college career at Purdue, when Akin Ayodele was Purdue's star pass-rusher.
"He was there. I looked up to him a lot. I sort of modeled myself after him," Hawkins said.
Hawkins, of course, is one of the players who will be attempting to replace Ayodele, who left the Jaguars in free agency last month.
The Jaguars were crazy about Hawkins and anxiously awaited the round in which they could pull the trigger on him. He forced seven fumbles last season and had 26 ½ tackles for loss. Hawkins was also the MVP of this year's Hula Bowl.