DraftBrowns.com Staff Writer: Justin Higdon
The Browns were busy on the first two days of NFL Free Agency, locking up pass rusher Paul Kruger and defensive lineman Desmond Bryant on Day One, and linebacker Quentin Groves and tight end Gary Barnidge on Day Two. The Cleveland faithful now waits with bated breath for the team to acquire help in the defensive backfield, where a starting cornerback and a free safety to team up with T.J. Ward are still sizeable holes in the defense. If the Browns stand pat with their current draft choices, Illinois cornerback Terry Hawthorne could be a target in the third or fourth round.
Terry Hawthorne Illinois CB 6’0 190
Like the rest of his Fighting Illini teammates, Hawthorne had a few rough moments in 2012. However, he still has excellent size for a cornerback, and has been a solid cover man for most of his career.
Hawthorne is a strong tackler and is not afraid to come up and help in run support. For example, he was one of the few players in the Big Ten capable of corralling Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller in the open field. While he often lined up off the receiver, he’s shown ability to press at the line and be aggressive in coverage. He has a nasty streak and a short memory that NFL teams look for in defensive backs. His senior tape isn’t spectacular, but he performed well at the East-West Shrine Game practices and he tested well at the combine. In addition, opposing teams seemed to avoid Hawthorne as often as possible, as it wasn’t difficult to find weaker links in the Illinois defensive backfield.
If scouts take a look back at his junior season, they’ll mostly like what they see, and Hawthorne’s size and physical play will surely endear him to a number of teams. If Hawthorne can live up to his potential, he could wind up being a steal in the middle rounds of the draft.
Vs. Penn State (’12)
- Fights through a cut block to make a tackle on a WR screen.
- Called for a late hit – ticky tack call.
- Playing zone but lets his man run free across the middle – some kind of breakdown there.
- They aren’t passing on him much but he remains willing to come up in run support.
- Nice job staying with the WR on the in route and breaking up the pass- good timing
Vs. Ohio State (’12)
- Willing tackler.
- Lines up off the line of scrimmage (LOS) most often.
- Doesn’t bite on a trick play and closes quickly for a tackle for loss (TFL).
- Uses the sideline (SL) as an extra defender, leads the WR out of bounds.
- Not the smoothest backpedal.
- He does a very good job all game of staying with Braxton Miller and not getting shaken.
- The few times they looked to throw his way he had coverage – allowed one pass in front of him but made the tackle
Vs. Ohio State (’11)
- Excellent size for a CB
- They like to use him on a blitz
- Wrap up tackler – forces a fumble
- Tends to play off the WR but he is physical, not afraid to come up and help in run support
- Comes up to press at the line but runs into a pick play in the red zone
- Nasty streak, aggressive