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2016 NFL Draft: Pittsburgh Steelers Select OT Jerald Hawkins in 4th Round

The Pittsburgh Steelers have selected offensive tackle Jerald Hawkins with the 123rd pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. Hawkins played at LSU and is a true offensive tackle who can play both the left and right side.

Hawkins was a 37 game starter in his college career. He will end up being the team’s swing tackle and could be the starter on offense if he puts in the necessary work.

He is a 6’6? 305 athlete that is quite the selection in the 4th round. He will fit the Steelers’ offense quite well. Hawkins, Villanueva and Ryan Harris will all be competing for the starting role at left tackle. He probably won’t be the starter but will be a more consistent swing tackle than former second-round pick Mike Adams.


The Bengals selected Andrew Billings just two spots ahead of Pittsburgh’s pick. He was still on the board after reports surfaced that he had problems with his knee. The Steelers probably wouldn’t have selected him anyway but who knows. Hawkins has a lot of promise and could be a talented offensive tackle in the NFL. He is very raw but his size could end up winning him the starting role someday.



  1. DrGeorge

    April 30, 2016 at 4:31 pm

    After Round 2 of the draft, every player has issues — character, talent, injuries, motor — something. The pundits say Hawkins needs better hand and upperbody strength. The Steelers strength coaches can fix that, over time. On the plus side, he played against top talent in the SEC, and LSU produces quality O-linemen. Whether he has the desire to excel in the NFL is anyone’s guess, but if he does, this pick may signal the long anticipated parting with M. Adams. Note: Hawkins is not nimble-footed and may be projected as a backup OG, where his deficiencies would be less glaring. On balance, a reasonable pick in this round.

  2. DrGeorge

    May 1, 2016 at 5:04 pm

    Addendum: I neglected to mention two of-season signings at OT in the comment above that bear on the subject.

    First, there is the Steelers acquisition of Ryan Harris from Denver in the off season. A solid veteran, Harris, 31, was the starting left tackle for the Broncos final 16 games ending in the Super Bowl. He should upgrade for our O-line play considerably and provide much needed depth.

    Second, there is the worthy experiment by Mike Tomlin in acquiring Brian Mihalik from the Eagles. A DE in college, the Steelers plan to use him at OT. That is a very difficult transition to make, but Mahalik is 6’9″ and at 302 pounds has room to grow. This is the kind of out-of-the-box thinking that turned Villanueva into our starting LT. The odds for Mahalik are long, but if the experiment succeeds, it would give the Steelers greater depth at OT than the team has had in ages. Give Tomlin an A this time for creativity.

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