Cardinals Prospect Q&A: Pac 10 Wide Receiver

With the loss of WR Bryant Johnson, the Cardinals will turn to the draft to reel in a replacement.'s Samantha Fillerup lands an exclusive interview with a middle-round prospect who met with Cardinals coaches at the Senior Bowl and the NFL Combine. Could this speedy slot receiver be the answer?

Lavelle Hawkins enjoyed meetings with Cardinals coaches at the Senior Bowl and the NFL Combine. In 2007, he led California with 72 receptions, 872 yards (12.1-yard avg.) and six TDs. His career totals include 136 receptions, 1,748 yards and 12 TDs.

Hawkins has good ball skills and is not afraid to work the middle of the field. He is an explosive runner who is elusive after the catch.

However, he is projected as just a fourth-round pick because of his mediocre size (5'11", 187 pounds) and lack of strength. He is considered an unfinished product and is not only aware of his shortcomings, but motivated to improve upon them.

"I think I need to work on every aspect, as far as catching the ball, my mental game…I need to work on everything," he said.

Hawkins has not seen the same amount of exposure or coverage as former teammate DeSean Jackson. Despite being overshadowed, Hawkins still managed to make a name for himself.

"I just want to prove that I can play with the best," he said.

The Cardinals offense would inarguably benefit from a player like Hawkins. Despite running a pedestrian 4.57 in the 40-yard dash, Hawkins plays faster than his timed speed and boasts rare agility and athleticism.

Hawkins doubles as a punt returner, which boosts his value. His performance at the Senior Bowl also worked wonders for his draft stock.

"Lavelle Hawkins had a big-time week and really performed well and helped himself out," said Oakland Raiders coach Lane Kiffin. "He made some dynamic plays downfield on the ball and has shown himself as a true speed receiver who can run downfield and get by guys, but also make the plays when they're there. He's made some guys miss.

"We're really pleased with Lavelle and he's somebody we're familiar with all the way back to high school. He's really matured and really become a big-time receiver."

Hawkins is ready for the draft and eager to play for whatever team drafts him. Opportunities to play football at the next level don't come everyday.

"I don't have a preference. I will be happy just to get drafted. Most guys don't have this opportunity. It is a blessing from God," he said.

Last season, the Cardinals' offense averaged 254.1 yards per game, ranking fifth in the league. Bryant Johnson contributed 528 yards but will take that productivity to the San Francisco 49ers.

Hawkins would take Johnson's place on the roster. He would add a new element to the Cardinals offense and is aware of the challenges that lie ahead.

"(The team that draft me is) going to get a hardnosed player, a guy happy to be there who's going to be there year-round working out with the team," he said.

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