Falcons surprisingly part ways with 2020 draft pick

cco21121978 atl at sf

The Falcons made a surprising move ahead of their Week 7 tilt in Tampa Bay, releasing former 2020 fourth-round pick Jaylinn Hawkins, according to Aaron Wilson.

Hawkins was expected to assume a big nickel role behind Jessie Bates and Richie Grant. Basically, instead of having a third cornerback, like Dee Alford, on the field as an extra defensive back, a big nickel package would have an extra safety to get more size on the field.

However, the most snaps Hawkins saw was 11 in Week 3, which was only 16% of the total defensive snaps. It’s clear he didn’t fit the ethos, scheme, or some other facet of this new regime’s team.

Rookie seventh-round pick DeMarcco Hellams has actually been the one to see an uptick in snaps in big nickel packages. After not taking a single snap on defense through three weeks and Week 5, he’s totaled 24 snaps in two weeks for the Falcons.

The Alabama product impressed in the preseason, recording a pair of interceptions in exhibition play. Though he doesn’t have the most impressive measurables, the coaching staff seems high on him because of his knack for being around the ball.

Now, he’ll have even more opportunities. It is odd to release Hawkins through six games; there’s a possibility a corresponding move is coming down the pike today.

Photographer: Bob Kupbens/Icon Sportswire

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