Press Conferences

Steelers select Hawkins in the fourth round



View photos of Steelers 2016 4th round draft pick, OT Jerald Hawkins

Jerald HawkinsOffensive TackleLouisiana State6-6, 305Baldwin, La.West St. Mary High School4th Round – 123rd Overall**

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A three-year starter on the offensive line, playing and starting 37 games (25 at right tackle and 12 at left tackle).

Played and started 11 games at left tackle…saw action on every snap in seven games, including the Bowl Win vs. Texas Tech, helping the Tigers generate a school bowl-record 638 yards of total offense in the 56-27 win…was a key member of the offensive line that paved the way for the SEC leading rushing offense (256.8 yards per game).

Started all 13 games at right tackle, helping pave the way for 1,000-yard rusher Leonard Fournette…ranked second among all LSU offensive linemen in total snaps with 834…totaled 43 knockdowns for the year…had his best overall game in win over No. 3 ranked Ole Miss with 12 knockdowns on 71 plays from scrimmage…against Ole Miss, LSU racked up 264 rushing yards against a Rebels team that was allowing just 97 yards rushing a game.


2013 SEASON**
Won starting job at right tackle during fall camp…played and started all 13 games (12 at RT and one at LT) for the Tigers…his best outing came in win over Texas A&M with nine knockdowns on 74 snaps in the 34-10 win over the Aggies.

Redshirted as a true freshman.

Was a three-year starter for West St. Mary High School at both offensive and defensive tackle…helped West St. Mary reach the postseason for the first time in several years, finishing with a 6-5 record in 2011…didn't allow a sack as a senior in 2011 as he recorded over 20 pancake blocks…on defense as a senior, he recorded 70 total tackles, 35.0 TFLs, six forced fumbles, one safety and one fumble recovery…as a junior in 2010, he registered 61 tackles and 18.0 TFLs at defensive end…earned 2011 LSWA 2A All-State Honorable Mention honors for his play on both offense and defense…tabbed a New Orleans Times-Picayune Blue Chip recruit…also participated in basketball, baseball and track and field throughout his high school career…won the Louisiana 2A state title in the shot put in 2011 with a toss of 52-9 ½ and followed that with a third place showing at the state meet in 2012 with a throw of 55-04.

Parents are Theresa and the late Warren Hawkins…born Oct. 16, 1993…majoring in sports administration.

Post-Pick Press Conference

Mike Munchak Re: Jerald Hawkins
I'm just real excited to be in the room here to talk about an offensive lineman that we just drafted, Jerald Hawkins from LSU. I think he's a left tackle. He played there young. He is a junior coming out. We see that he has a lot of talent, a lot of growth ahead of him, and he can play both sides, left and right tackle. He can come in here and help right away by competing and pushing the guys and making them better. 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. It's hard to find that in the draft especially as the draft goes on. To find players who you feel can play the left tack or right tackle spot and to have that versatility, a lot of times tackles, as you get later in the rounds, can play right tackle or go inside. 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 as we get him in here for OTA's. So we are excited. I'm excited, obviously, to have him and to work with him and to get to know him as he comes in next week.

Re: Blocking rule changes affecting play:
For us, he won't. I don't think we run a lot of inside-outside zone. We could but not the level that changes in the rules is going to affect what we do, what the players do and how we teach. It shouldn't affect us anyway. You just have to be more aware when you have two hands on a defender. When two guys are working together to guard a tackle, especially the center guard, that one is not high and one is not low like it's similar in the past games. I think the way we teach it won't affect the guys. We just have to be more aware of the rule change and what the officials are looking for.

Will you start him at right tackle then?
I don't think there is any plan that way. I think when you bring a young guy in to see where he's most comfortable. For me, it's to find out where's he's most comfortable. The biggest thing with linemen coming in is to build their confidence up. They are coming to a new experience. The Steelers, they'll start hearing the Steelers tradition and what goes on here over the years. So I think he is a guy that comes in comfortable at left. That doesn't mean anything, just to start him at left to see how his reps go. Then you see what he can handle. Then you start moving him to both sides, instead of mixing them right away. I'm assuming left is what he is most comfortable at to begin with, then we will start him there and then just go from there. But he wouldn't be tagged as a left or right tackle. We think he has the ability to play both. That was the excitement about picking him.


Is it nice to get someone in the fourth round who may not play right away but has a higher ceiling than most?**
We think so because being a junior coming out, could have stayed in college another season, young, yes. He has a lot of football ahead of him. I like that at LSU, they run the ball quite a bit. They do a lot of things that pro offenses do. They're not just a spread offense so he's been involved with a lot of different aspects where they'll be in a two-back offense, two-tight-end offense, a spread offense. So as an offensive lineman, he understands those concepts. He's been asked to do some of the things we'll ask him to do. He's way ahead of a lot of the linemen that come out of college and aren't exposed to a lot of the things. A lot of college linemen haven't even put their hand on the ground yet. There are a lot of things when you get these guys that you're not quite sure of sometimes until you get them here – at what level they've been taught, what they know, how long it takes them to learn. Those are the things you get excited about as a coach, that this guy has done a lot of things on the tape that we do on our offense. They run the ball quite a bit there. They've had a lot of success doing that. He's been part of that. There's nothing that he hasn't been exposed to. He's been exposed to a lot of things that would be very comfortable to him here.

Re: Competition at tackle:
I think that's the nice thing. You've got competition there with those two. Alejandro Villanueva came in and did a nice job. We brought Ryan Harris in so you have some good competition there. And now you have another guy coming in that has the ability to play left or right. You have Mike Adams who is coming off an injury, that we feel has the ability to play both sides. That's a good problem to have. For me, I'm excited because I have a lot of options on what we can do. We're just going to get better having the type of guys that we have. There's no plan right now on who is playing where. It's more or less just bringing them in, letting them compete, getting them reps and kind of see who rises to the top, who pushes the envelope. I think when you have good players, you get better. I think the fact that we have the guys we have and bringing a guy like this in, will help that room. It adds to what we have at tackle. Most of the guys we have can play right and left. We're not one position guys. Villanueva can play left or right. Adams can play left or right. This guy can play left or right, so we have some good options there. If there are problems or there are injuries, we have a lot of ways to fill the roster.

Do you have a starting point right now for who will play?
No. I don't think we've even discussed that yet. Obviously Villanueva is the one that's most familiar with the position coming in. That won't mean a whole lot. Harris is new to the offense. He just got a Super Bowl ring so he brings a lot of experience to the room also. We have a lot of good problems to have. We're going to have some good competition. Ultimately that will make our offensive line even better. Right now, no we haven't discussed any of those things as far as who's going to be where. It's just a matter of getting him in here, starting OTA's and seeing where it goes.

How is Adams physically?
He's working with the players. We'll see how he develops. Any time with injuries, there's always uncertainty, but we missed him last year. Hopefully he will be contributing this year.

Conference Call Transcript

Do you have a preference between right and left side?
Honestly, no, sir. As long as I'm on the field, it doesn't really matter. I feel comfortable on both sides.

What do you know about Mike Munchak?
He's a great coach, one of the best. He's a Hall of Famer and that means he knows what he's doing. He's been in the game a long time.

Re: On if the draft advisory board gave him an approximate round where he might be selected:
They told me to stay in school.


Why did you come out?**
I felt I was mature enough, especially with the help of Coach Grimes. He came two years ago, and I felt like I learned a lot more from him. I had some more technique things to work on and he pretty much helped me out these last two years. I felt comfortable with my decision, felt more mature and felt it was the right thing to do.

Re: On if he has questioned that decision:
No, sir. I just prayed on it and let God handle his business. He has a reason for everything. I felt it was the right decision when I made it the first time, to declare. I felt I was alright with it, so that's what I did.

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