Terry Hawthorne Scouting Report: NFL Outlook for Illinois CB

Matt Stein@MatthewJSteinCorrespondent IIApril 22, 2013

Terry Hawthorne had a down season in 2012, but he should still be a productive cornerback for an NFL franchise.
Terry Hawthorne had a down season in 2012, but he should still be a productive cornerback for an NFL franchise.Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Terry Hawthorne

Pittsburgh Steelers

Fifth Round: 150th Pick

Terry Hawthorne is coming off a disappointing season for the Illinois Fighting Illini which definitely hurt his stock heading into the 2013 NFL draft. However, Hawthorne looks the part of an NFL cornerback and has shown flashes of a potential starter based on his game tape.

Here's our scouting report on the Illinois cornerback.



Hawthorne is one of the most physical cornerbacks in the 2013 NFL draft. He's isn't afraid of talent and doesn't back down from contact. He's also got the speed (4.44 40-yard dash) to keep up with receivers down the field.

One of Hawthorne's biggest strengths is his ability to create turnovers. He's got some ferociousness to his tackles as he consistently hits opponents with some pop. At 6'0", 195 pounds, he's got the size that NFL teams are looking for in a cornerback.

He's got good fluidity in his hips and the ability to change directions quickly. Finally, Hawthorne also has a little experience as a kick and punt returner, making him able to be productive in a few different ways on the field.




The biggest concern revolving around Hawthorne is his history with injuries. He missed chunks of games in both 2010 and 2012 with a foot injury and a concussion. 

Hawthorne relies on his physicality too often in both the pass and run game. He'll lunge and miss opponents when trying to make tackles. There are times when Hawthorne will also get too physical with receivers down the field.

His ball skills also leave much to be desired. Hawthorne struggles to finish interceptions and will often drop passes that hit his hands.



Hawthorne was neither overly impressive or unimpressive at the NFL combine. His 40-yard dash time of 4.44 and 35" vertical were simply mediocre.

Luckily, Hawthorne understands how to use his above-average size and strength to his advantage when covering receivers. He gets pressure off the line of scrimmage and does a good job on jump balls.



Serious injury concerns are going to follow Hawthorne into the NFL. Missing parts of two college seasons is a big problem for a number of franchises.


However, when Hawthorne was on the field, he was a successful defensive player for a unit filled with talent.



Hawthorne played mostly man coverage during his time at Illinois. This is where he'll be most successful in the NFL.


Playing the Ball

Hawthorne possesses good instincts when attacking the ball. He does a good job at planting his feet and driving at the football while it's in the air.

He also excels at finding the ball while it's in the air and winning jump balls.


Against the Run

Hawthorne's physicality against the run is a huge plus for NFL teams. He's not shy at all about contact and is willing to take a hit to make a tackle.

His instincts in the run game could use a little improvement, as he'll sometimes overshoot the ball-carrier.




With his physicality, Hawthorne is at his best when he's in man coverage. He has the recovery speed to play on the line of scrimmage with receivers in case he gets beat.

Hawthorne can also play off the receiver, as he possesses the fluidity in his hips of an NFL cornerback.



While Hawthorne didn't play much zone at Illinois, his overall skill set suggests that he would be successful in a zone defense.

He has good instincts and the ability to read a quarterback's eyes.



Of all the cornerback prospects in this draft, Hawthorne may be the most impressive tackler in the bunch. He isn't shy at all about contact and often will seek it out with receivers and ball-carriers.


Hawthorne does a good job at wrapping up offensive players on a consistent basis and will rarely miss tackles.



Hawthorne has good aggressiveness and technique when jamming receivers at the line of scrimmage. He also stays low and keeps his balance when dropping back into coverage. 

His hands aren't the best as he'll sometimes catch the ball with his body instead of extending his arms and catching with his hands.


Future Role/Scheme Versatility

Hawthorne will be best used in the NFL in man coverage. He has the size and physical tools to be left on an island alone and still be successful.

He could find a way into a starting lineup sooner than later due to his ability to be successful against the run.


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