After addressing major needs in the first four rounds of the 2013 NFL Draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers can look to add depth at positions of need the rest of the afternoon.
They started doing that in the fifth round when they selected Illinois corner back Terry Hawthorne.
Hawthorne’s draft stock was hurt by a disappointing 2012 season, but he looks the part of an NFL cornerback.
One thing that sticks out about Hawthorne is the fact that he is very physical. He isn’t afraid to jam receivers at the line of scrimmage and isn’t afraid of contact.
When a receiver does get by him at the line of scrimmage, his 4.4 speed allows him to keep up with them down the field.
He also has a knack for the ball, which is good. The Steelers have had problems the past two seasons forcing turnovers and Hawthorne can go up and get the ball.
Another positive is that he has some experience as both a punt and kick returner, so he helps add depth there. That’s not an immediate need for the Steelers with the recent signing of LaRod Stephens-Howling, but it is nice to have more than one option.
On the negative side, Hawthorne has battled injuries over the course of the past three seasons. He also misses a lot of tackles and doesn’t have the best hands for a guy who has pretty good ball skills.
However he has a chance to add some decent depth to the Steelers secondary.
He’s best in man coverage as that’s all the Fighting Illini really played. Hawthorne has the size and physical tools to be left on an island alone and still be successful. Add in his ability to play the run, he could end up being an asset on this Steelers team.
My immediate projections for him is that if he has a good camp, Hawthorne could compete for the fourth or fifth corner spot.