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Thread: A.J. Hawk

  1. #1

    A.J. Hawk

    Draft Preview: Linebackers
    Hawk, Sims headline exceptional group
    Bob McGinn

    Green Bay - Ohio State's A.J. Hawk has the edge on Florida State's Ernie Sims by one year of age, 2 inches of height and 15 pounds of muscle.

    It's the best draft for linebackers since 2000, when six were taken in the first round, and the margin among the leading men is narrower than one might guess.

    "Who's the better defensive player, Hawk or Sims?" Indianapolis Colts President Bill Polian said. "I'd make it on a very, very slim margin for Hawk only because he's bigger, but that's only for the draft. I saw Hawk live against Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl and came away incredibly impressed, but Ernie Sims may come in here as a 10-year all-pro."

    If Sims does turn out to be like Derrick Brooks, the eight-time Pro Bowl player for Tampa Bay to whom he is most often compared, what would that leave on the horizon for Hawk?

    "I've always compared Hawk to Randy Gradishar," Chicago Bears GM Jerry Angelo said. "Hawk's a great player. He's great. How do people not take him?"

    Gradishar, another former Buckeyes middle linebacker, made the Pro Bowl seven times during a 10-year career with Denver from 1974-'83.

    "Hawk's better than Gradishar," said one personnel man who has spent a lifetime in coaching and scouting. "He's a little bit like (Ray) Nitschke from Illinois. In a way, Hawk is just as vicious. He just doesn't signify and testify it, growl and scowl. When Hawk tackles, he hurts your (bleep)."

    For a modern-day comparison, scouts bring up Chicago's Brian Urlacher. Several say that Hawk will play with the same astonishing sideline-to-sideline speed that is the hallmark of Urlacher's game.

    "If you were making a movie you'd cast him as the linebacker," said Rich Snead, director of player personnel for the Tennessee Titans. Snead said Hawk was better coming out than Keith Brooking and way better than Jonathan Vilma and James Farrior.

    Said Snead: "He's not (Junior) Seau. Seau was phenomenal. He's not as good as Cornelius Bennett. But he's the one guy I've seen in a long time that knocks people back when he tackles them."

    "Hawk might be the safest pick in the draft," Philadelphia Eagles GM Tom Heckert said. "We can't find any holes. He's 6-1. Maybe that's it. So what? I think you could take him anywhere."

    Hawk might just become the "awesome player" that San Diego general manager A.J. Smith expects him to be, but the tape-viewing room at Florida State made for even more eagerly awaited viewing for scouts last fall than the one at Ohio State.

    "Sims is probably my favorite player in the draft as far as watching him play," Buffalo national scout Marc Ross said. "I've never seen a player who plays more relentlessly without regard for his body than this guy. I say ever. Hawk plays his (bleep) off. Vilma played hard. But this guy is crazy. I mean, he is absolutely nuts when he plays."

    No first-round linebacker in the last 15 years has been as short as Sims, who measured 5 feet 11 1 /8 inch at the combine. The other glaring negative on Sims is the fact he suffered five concussions in college.

    "He can bring the heat like I haven't seen in a long time," one personnel director said. "But the concussions scare the (bleep) out of me."

    As admired and as good as Sims has a chance to be, the fact that Hawk captured 19 of 21 first-place votes as the No. 1 linebacker in a Journal Sentinel poll of personnel people reflects the dominance most scouts see in him.

    "If he slipped to us, I'd celebrate until we got to camp," said Tom Modrak, the Buffalo Bills assistant GM who will help his team make the eighth pick. "He plays so hard and he's so smart and he wants to be good. His impact won't be only on the field. I think he'll be a presence on your team."

    The 21 scouts were asked to rank the linebackers on a 1-to-5 basis, with a first-place vote worth five points and so on. Nine players received votes, and estimates are that up to 20 could be selected in the first three rounds.

    Hawk had 103 points (his two non-firsts were seconds) compared to 79 for Sims, who was left off the ballot by one scout who said he "can't get off a block." Next, in order, were Chad Greenway with 34 points, Demeco Ryans with 25, Thomas Howard with 19, D'Qwell Jackson and Roger "Rocky" McIntosh with 17, Bobby Carpenter with 16 and Clint Ingram with five.

    "The draft is so thin in other places that there may be a run on them," Modrak said. "There will be some good players in the second and third rounds, and in the second day. It's an abnormal year."

  2. #2
    "As far as a complete player, a can't miss, no holes off the field or on the field player, Hawk is as close as you're going to get," Buffalo national scout Marc Ross said. "He's tough, smart, plays hard, a good athlete, fast, quick, uses his hands and he's strong." Can play any of three positions but is best in the middle or weak side. "If you watch the guy, he's like (Matt) Leinart, always in the right place," one scout said. "He's around the ball, he's square, he can cover and he can rush." Played extensively as a freshman and started last three seasons. Finished with 15 1/2 sacks, 12 takeaway plays and 41 TFL (tackles for loss). "He beat their other linebackers, who are pretty darn good, to the ball even when he had to go across and over them," another scout said. "He's a leader. He's everything." Will be married on St. Patrick's Day 2007 to Laura Quinn, sister of Notre Dame QB Brady Quinn. Hails from Centerville, Ohio. "I think he's a little overrated," a third scout said. "I just think down in, down out he tends to play in the secondary. He's not the biggest, stoutest guy. Unless you keep him protected and let him run . . . I think he's a little like Rob Morris at Indianapolis. He's dependable and consistent, but I just don't know if he's ever going to be a 'wow' guy." Scored 27 on the 50-question Wonderlic intelligence test.

  3. #3
    Hawk's scores at the combine:

    Height: 6010
    Weight: 248
    40 Yrd Dash: 4.59 (4.45 on a fast track at his Pro Day)
    20 Yrd Dash: 2.72
    10 Yrd Dash: 1.56
    225 Lb. Bench Reps: 24
    Vertical Jump: 40"
    Broad Jump: 9'7"
    20 Yrd Shuttle: 3.96
    3-Cone Drill: 6.82

    Brian Urlacher's scores at the combine:

    Height: 6037
    Weight: 258
    40 Yrd Dash: 4.59
    20 Yrd Dash: 2.70
    10 Yrd Dash: 1.62
    225 Lb. Bench Reps: 27
    Vertical Jump: 34"
    Broad Jump: 10'2"
    20 Yrd Shuttle: 4.18
    3-Cone Drill: 6.94

    Any talk of Hawk not being a great athlete should be put to rest. Scouts are generally wary of overhyping guys, and for any guy you can find some scouts who don't like a player as much as others (hell, there are scouts who will find something negative to say about Reggie Bush), but there's about as much across the board love for Hawk as you'll find in a prospect.

  4. #4
    http://www.sportsline.com/nfl/story/9398242

    Clark Judge, a senior writer, kicks things off. He says the Pack will go with A.J. Hawk at No. 5 and can't believe the youngster has lasted this long. "He could be the best player in the draft," writes Judge.

    Mock Draft: Clark Judge - Who they should take

    2. New Orleans Saints
    A.J. Hawk, LB, Ohio State: I want the best defender in the draft; here he is

    Mock Draft: Clark Judge - Who they will take

    5. Green Bay Packers
    A.J. Hawk, LB, Ohio State: One way or the other, Pack emerges with defensive help.

  5. #5
    Another rendition by Kiper and the draftniks
    Mike Hart

    Moving right along, Mel believes the Green Bay Packers will pass on Vince Young and grab A.J. Hawk at No. 5...

    Pat Kirwan, the NFL.com senior analyst, is toeing the slab with his mock draft.

    Pat has the Packers scooping up Oregon defensive tackle Haloti Ngata. On paper, this fellow appears to be a good prospect if you're making an eye chart...

    Clark Judge, a senior writer, kicks things off. He says the Pack will go with A.J. Hawk at No. 5 and can't believe the youngster has lasted this long. "He could be the best player in the draft," writes Judge.

    Pete Prisco, another senior writer, has the Saints swiping Hawk at No. 2. North Carolina State defensive end Mario Williams then slides to the Pack at No. 5. "This is the next Julius Peppers," writes Prisco. This is a whole lot better than being the next Doctor Pepper...

    Senior writer Dennis Dodd also has Hawk going to the Saints and the Packers taking Williams...

    Sportsillustrated.cnn.com: A.J. Hawk is the pick for Green Bay at No. 5...

    Sportingnews.com: The Pack grabs A.J. Hawk.

  6. #6
    NFL Draft Countdown:

    5. GREEN BAY PACKERS
    A.J. HAWK

    This is a franchise that is stuck between two worlds, nearing the end of the Brett Favre era and still trying to compete for one last Super Bowl with him yet also trying to get younger and build for the future. The strains of this plan became very evident a year ago when the Packers chose Aaron Rodgers, an heir apparent to the franchise icon, in round one when he unexpectedly fell into their laps. While that struggle will likely continue until Favre finally hangs up his cleats it won't have any affect on this choice. When all is said and done this will likely work out very well for the Packers because they will more than likely be able to address their most glaring need, linebacker, with the top rated player at the position. Former first rounder Nick Barnett has a firm grasp on one of the jobs but Green Bay might very well be in the market for two new starters outside with Ben Taylor, Brady Poppinga and Robert Thomas currently battling for spots on the first unit as of now. Not exactly anything to get too excited about. Anyone who saw a Ohio St. game this past season knows what a force A.J. Hawk can be and he is the rare linebacker who can seemingly dominate and control a game. The team would also strongly consider Mario Williams if he somehow fell this far, which is doubtful at best, while Michael Huff and maybe even a quarterback could garner interest as well. At the end of the day Hawk would seem to be the ideal match, giving them a great leader and playmaking presence on defense.

  7. #7
    Tim McShay of Scouts Inc.:

    5. Green Bay Packers (4-12)
    Top-five needs: OG, OLB, OC, DE, WR
    The pick: A.J. Hawk, OLB, Ohio State
    The Packers have done a decent job of addressing their needs at wide receiver (Rod Gardner), defensive tackle (Ryan Pickett) and safety (Marquand Manuel) this offseason. Still missing, though, is an impact playmaker on defense. There are some reports regarding the Packers' growing interest in massive two-gap DT Haloti Ngata (Oregon). However, Hawk is a more complete player, and he could make a more immediate impact for a defense that is in desperate need of a playmaker and leader of his capacity.

  8. #8
    Anti Homer Rat HOFer Bretsky's Avatar
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    """If you were making a movie you'd cast him as the linebacker," said Rich Snead, director of player personnel for the Tennessee Titans. Snead said Hawk was better coming out than Keith Brooking and way better than Jonathan Vilma and James Farrior. ""

    Better than Vilma.

    AJ HAWK IS OUR GUY; he's a Packer Man

    Intense
    Great Attitude
    Smash Mouth
    Pro Ready
    Great Tackler
    Inspirational

    THE LEADER OF THE PACKER D for the next Decade.



    HE GOT HAWK'D !!

  9. #9
    Dr. Z of SI.com:

    No. 5 PACKERS: An easy pick upon which everyone agrees. I call the Packers, speak to two individuals, and they both confirm that the logical choice is A.J. HAWK, LB, OHIO STATE, an amazingly gifted young defender.

  10. #10
    I say TT trades out of #5. I would really regret him doing this, though, cause I really want either Mario or Hawk. I don't wanna QB or OT. I think we trade with Oakland so they can get to Vince Young, who is miraculously still there.

    For me it's:

    Bush - HOU
    Brick - NO
    Linnie - TIT
    Mario - NYJ
    Young - OAK
    Davis - 49
    Hawk - Packers.

  11. #11
    Senior Rat HOFer ND72's Avatar
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    HAWK HAWK HAWK HAWK HAWK HAWK HAWK HAWK HAWK HAWK HAWK HAWK HAWK HAWK HAWK HAWK HAWK HAWK HAWK HAWK HAWK HAWK
    "I would love to have a guy that always gets the key hit, a pitcher that always makes his best pitch and a manager that can always make the right decision. The problem is getting him to put down his beer and come out of the stands and do those things." - Danny Murraugh

  12. #12
    Wolf Pack Rat HOFer Deputy Nutz's Avatar
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    The way I look at is the Packers are either going to get Hawk, Davis, or Williams, especially if the Saints select Hawk with the second pick of the draft.

    If Hawk goes before the Packers so be it, I would be happy with Williams or Davis at that point.

    I just don't see the Saint's taking Hawk with the second pick. I think they might take Ferguson. They need an offensive tackle.
    "She was one big girl. What a disaster. When the best part of the night at a seedy strip club is befriending an old man trying to lure college guys into his RV for a ride back to campus, you have to know that god might hate you."

    The Skinbasket

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by ND72
    HAWK HAWK HAWK

    Don't you mean to say:

    HAWK HAWKHAWK HAWKHAWK HAWKHAWK HAWK

  14. #14
    Senior Rat HOFer ND72's Avatar
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    AH...my bad...didn't know how well the yellow would look
    "I would love to have a guy that always gets the key hit, a pitcher that always makes his best pitch and a manager that can always make the right decision. The problem is getting him to put down his beer and come out of the stands and do those things." - Danny Murraugh

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by HarveyWallbangers
    Dr. Z of SI.com:

    No. 5 PACKERS: An easy pick upon which everyone agrees. I call the Packers, speak to two individuals, and they both confirm that the logical choice is A.J. HAWK, LB, OHIO STATE, an amazingly gifted young defender.
    Hang on...kill the music and the party for just a moment. I'd just like to note that the people he spoke to confirm that Hawk is the LOGICAL choice--not the one they will be taking. Thompson said that anyone who thought he would play it safe didn't know him well.

    That's all. Cue the balloon drop.
    "Greatness is not an act... but a habit.Greatness is not an act... but a habit." -Greg Jennings

  16. #16
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    Just because AJ Hawk is a can't miss prospect by no means is he playing it safe. He's taking the best player with the most playmaking potential. He's taking the dude that scouts are saying is as good or better than the guy who won Defensive Player of the Year.


    Hawk is gonna be a friggin' stud.

  17. #17
    Lunatic Rat HOFer JustinHarrell's Avatar
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    I wouldn't be surprised with Hawk. I also wouldn't be surprised with Ferguson, Davis or Mario. Thompson was spoken of so highly by Wolf as a scout that I find it hard to believe he'll make the wrong decision. We know quite a bit from these guys through scouts interviewed and internet sources but in the end Thompson has spent far more time than any 5 of us combined and will be prepared to select the best player. There are going to be at least 2 really good players at that spot and the Packers should be immediately better no matter who it is. To all those guys I argue with daily; I LOVE Hawk too and no matter who we get a little part of me would be disappointed it is not him. Having said that; I don't really fall in love with one player and I'm keeping an open mind. I'm hoping for whoever Thompson deems best between who's left. The best player if you will. I'm not ignorant enough to pretend I know who that is.

  18. #18
    We know quite a bit from these guys through scouts interviewed and internet sources but in the end Thompson has spent far more time than any 5 of us combined and will be prepared to select the best player.
    I'd venture to guess that Thompson spent far more time than all of us combined. We just regurgitate what we read on the Internet. That's why there were so many upset with the Nick Collins pick.

  19. #19
    U Rat All-Pro BF4MVP's Avatar
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    I've been changing my opinion of Hawk about 25 million times since the middle of the season..I've literally gone from "OMG HE'S THE NEXT URLACHER WE GOTTA GET HIM!!!!!!" to "Eh, he'll be a solid player, but not worth number 5." So I'm not really sure how I feel..Although Ted Thompson knows what he is doing, and he will make the best pick for the Green Bay Packers. I am 100% behind whatever decision he makes as far as who is the number 5 pick.

    There are a couple things I really like about Hawk that don't change with my ever-changing opinion of him..

    1. He's a jerk. On the field I mean. I have no idea what kind of person he is, so I'm not commenting on his personality off the field. I do know, though, that he has that "Nitschke" type of competitive fire..If you're a player on the opposing team, and you try crossing paths with Hawk, he doesn't give a shit who you are, he's just gonna knock you the fuck out. I like that a lot. We need someone like that.

    2. He's a leader. I know from what i've read that he'll try his best to get in people's faces and get them to play better..I don't think he'll care that he's a rookie, he'll do it anyways..Guess what, Woodson, if you're not earnin your paycheck, you'll probably have to answer to AJ..We haven't had a leader on this defense since LeRoy Butler..I like that too..

    3. He fills a glaring need for a linebacker. I don't need to explain..

    With the three things I've listed, one would think that I'd be screaming at my TV on draft day "CMON TT TAKE HAWK!!!!!!'" But for whatever reason, my opinion of him changes almost daily....

    Good reads though, Harv, thanks for sharin those..

  20. #20
    Stout Rat HOFer Guiness's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HarveyWallbangers

    Pete Prisco, another senior writer, has the Saints swiping Hawk at No. 2. North Carolina State defensive end Mario Williams then slides to the Pack at No. 5. "This is the next Julius Peppers," writes Prisco. This is a whole lot better than being the next Doctor Pepper...
    HW I like how you avoided Prisco's other prognostication:

    Who they should take: Ernie Sims
    --
    Imagine for a moment a world without hypothetical situations...

    "He was mocked in the third, but after the combine they'll mock him into the first, for sure." - Fritz

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