After seeing another lineman at No. 27, guard/center Joe Hawley clocks in at No. 26 among Falcon players. Click here to see the scoring system used for these rankings.
Total Score: 45
Player Grade: 50 out of 100
Teams he could start for: 2 out of 32
Teams he is best position player: 1 out of 32
Teams he could find role on: 23 out of 32
Peak-Year Bonus: +4
Positional Bonus: +3
While Hawley and Holmes wound up with the same overall score, I gave Hawley the nod in the rankings because his player grade is a bit higher. And that’s because unlike Holmes, we’ve seen quite a bit of Hawley to really gauge him as a player.
Hawley has filled in at both center and right guard. And while he was completely miscast at the latter spot in 2011, he was serviceable at points. The one positive you can say about Hawley as a guard is that it ultimately resulted in improved play from Tyson Clabo down the stretch. At the outset of 2011, I thought Hawley flashed potential as a fill-in starter at center for an injured Todd McClure.
Unlike Peter Konz, Hawley is probably more like McClure in his playing style. Hawley is more physical than McClure was at the pivot, and gets extra points for his mean streak. Without a doubt, Hawley is one of the “dirtiest” blockers I’ve ever seen. He routinely plays beyond the whistle, and he epitomized the “dirt bag” comments made back in 2011 by an opposing player.
Hawley is expected to compete for playing time this year, but really looks to be on the outside looking in. It would be a major upset at this point if Peter Konz didn’t start the year at center, which puts Hawley’s best avenue at right guard. But unless he’s dramatically improved his game from 2011, then it would be hard-pressed to see the Falcons employing him there over Garrett Reynolds or Mike Johnson should the latter lose his competition at right tackle.
Instead, Hawley should be relatively settled in as the swing guard/center that in the event of an injury to Konz, Reynolds, and/or Justin Blalock will be inserted into the lineup. Hawley is entering a contract year and how this season plays out will determine his future with the Falcons and in this league. There are a few teams that he could probably go to today and start at center and be an upgrade. The majority of NFL teams however, he’d likely serve the same function he does here in Atlanta, which is add depth.