The Steelers are moving right along with getting their rookies under contract, signing fourth-round pick Jerald Hawkins to a four-year contract.
Hawkins, an offensive tackle from LSU, was a three-year starter for the Tigers who came out for the draft after his junior year.
He has experience at both left tackle, where he started 12 games, and right tackle, where he started 25 games, but is expected to see most of his work early on with the Steelers at left tackle.
“He can come in here and help right away by competing and pushing the guys and making them better,” said offensive line coach Mike Munchak. “It just makes the group better when you can bring in a good athlete and a good player that has the ability to compete and help us become better.
“We feel this guy can come in and learn from the guys we have, push the guys that we have and now it’s just a matter of how quickly we feel he can contribute.”
Hawkins already likes what he has experienced from working with Munchak, a Hall of Famer, and is looking forward to even more of it.
“It’s more than what I expected,” said Hawkins. “I was expecting a great time learning from one of the greats. It’s been that and more. He is teaching me a lot. It’s perfect.
“The atmosphere around here, the chemistry, they take pride in everything they do.”
Hawkins is the fifth of the Steelers draft picks to sign, joining second-round pick Sean Davis, sixth-round selection Travis Feeney and seventh-round picks Demarcus Ayers and Tyler Matakevich who previously signed.