It’s not easy to set the single-season record for rushing yards as a running back at a program like Louisville.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what Javian Hawkins is capable of.
One of the best pound-for-pound runners in this year’s draft class, Hawkins recently spoke exclusively with The Draft Network about his incredible career with the Cardinals, why he loves to throw a chop block, and what kind of impact he’ll make at the next level.
JM: Your 1,525 rushing yards in 2019 was the most ever in a single season by a Louisville running back. How do you look back on your time at Louisville?
JH: I had a great experience at Louisville. I loved every second of it. I loved the fans. It’s a beautiful city with a great food scene. I had a terrific experience all around.
It was a new scene for me. I was away from the eastern time zone for the first time in my life. It was a lot colder in Louisville than it is in Florida (laughs). I saw a lot of things and I experienced a lot of things.
My teammates... I call those guys my brothers. We went through so much together. I built a lot of relationships with new people. It was fun all around. I’m blessed to have had that experience.
I’m humble and ready to attack to the next level.
JM: That’s what I love to hear. What’s your favorite part of playing the running back position?
JH: That’s a tough question for me to answer. I really love throwing a chop block, though (laughs). It puts me back in that defensive mindset. I used to play on the defense.
As a running back, you’re getting hit all game long. I feel like I can get you back by throwing a chop block once in a while (laughs). I love chop blocking, bro.
JM: I don’t think I’ve ever heard a running back say that he loves to throw a chop block before (laughs). I really love that answer.
JH: It makes me feel like I’m a defensive back all over again (laughs). It takes me back to my DB days.
JM: That’s hilarious. One thing that jumps out at me about your game is that you’re really a threat to score every single time you touch the ball. That’s how I felt while watching your tape.
JH: That’s how I’ve always played the game. It’s a part of me. I’ve been playing football since I was four-and-a-half years old. That’s how I’ve been playing ever since. I was always the fastest kid on the field growing up. I’ve always been a threat to score every time I touch the ball.
I play the game with every last drop of sweat. As long as there’s time left on the clock, I’m gonna go out there and play my hardest. I don’t know any other way. Any down, any time, I can score on any given play.
That’s the ability I have. I always come through in the clutch.
JM: You’re also a great pass-catcher. You can make a big impact in the passing game. How important is it to have that versatility as a running back in today’s game?
JH: Besides being able to play well in pass protection, catching passes may be the next most important thing for a running back nowadays.
If you can’t catch passes as a running back in today’s NFL, you may not see the field, honestly. It’s something that we have to be able to do to survive on an NFL roster nowadays.
It’s very, very important.
JM: We’ve now reached the virtual part of the draft. You’re starting to meet with teams via Zoom. How is that process going for you and which teams have you met with so far?
JH: I’ve met with a bunch of teams. I haven't met with any coaches yet [writer’s note: interview was completed on 2/25]. I have a couple of meetings coming up in March. Those meetings will be with position coaches and head coaches.
For now, a bunch of scouts have hit me up. I’ve spoken with scouts from the Seahawks, 49ers, Giants, Cardinals, Broncos, Titans, Saints, Jets, Packers, Bills, Falcons, Raiders, Rams, Patriots, and Jaguars.
It’s been a great experience so far. I’m enjoying the process. It’s another big step in my life and I’m attacking it.
This process is helping me grow as a man. I’m having these conversations with people in the NFL. We’re talking about being a man that owns up to his actions and is responsible. We’re talking business. We’re talking football.
JM: There’s clearly a lot of interest in you. If you could catch a pass or take a handoff from any NFL quarterback, who would you choose and why?
JH: A scout asked me this question (laughs). I told them Tom Brady. He’s the GOAT. Nobody has ever done it at the level that he’s doing it at. I would love to see what it’s like to catch a pass from Tom Brady. That would be an honor.
JM: That’s a great choice. You’re gonna hear the word “undersized” throughout this process. I’m sure you’ve heard it before and you’ve been proving people wrong your entire life. How do you typically respond to the undersized label?
JH: I enjoy being the underdog. I prefer it. They can say whatever they’re gonna say.
Undersized is an understatement (laughs). Size has never been the issue. If size mattered, the elephant would be the king of the jungle.
Being small, it just makes me play bigger. A lot of people tell me that I play way bigger than I am. Size is just your body weight. There’s no perspective to analyzing that. If somebody chooses to view you a certain way, they should talk to you and get to know you as a person first.
They may be wrong about you.
JM: That’s a terrific answer. This has been a fun conversation. In closing, why should an NFL team use one of their draft picks on Javian Hawkins?
JH: I’m gonna come in and work my butt off. Everybody that knows me knows I’m a hard-working young man.
If you’re looking for somebody that’s gonna have your back at all times, I’m that guy. I’m the most loyal person you’ll meet. I love encouraging others around me. I want all of my teammates to do more and to do better.
I don’t see another running back in this draft class with my ability. I’m the same person off the field as well.
I bring a lot to the table. My game fits this era of football. I’m a small back that’s elusive and I can catch the football too.
Take a chance on me because you definitely won’t regret it.