The Patriots had their full depth in the secondary for the first time this summer on Monday, with Jonathan Jones, Jabrill Peppers, and Myles Bryant all practicing for the first time this camp. Following Monday’s practice the team added to that depth further by signing safety Brad Hawkins following a free agent workout. PFF’s Doug Kyed was the first to report the signing.
Hawkins, a rookie out of Michigan, went undrafted this past spring before signing with the Falcons. He was then released by Atlanta last month following spring practices.
In 14 games with the Wolverines last year, Hawkins recorded 60 tackles with four going for a loss. He also broke up four passes and forced two fumbles. In total, he played in 56 games and started 31 over five years in Ann Arbor.
At 6-foot-1, 221 pounds, Hawkins mainly played deep safety for Michigan. However, he does have experience playing in the box as well as slot corner.
In New England, Hawkins joins a safety group that is one of the deepest on the roster. Devin McCourty returns as the starting deep safety, while Kyle Dugger and Adrian Phillips took most of the reps in the box last year. That strong safety spot may get even more competitive with the signing of Jabrill Peppers and emergence of 2021 sixth-round draft pick Joshuah Bledsoe.
Hawkins wasn’t the only defensive back to get a workout in Foxborough on Monday. The team also brought in Devin Hafford of Tarleton State, Daniel Wright of Alabama, and Jalen Elliott Notre Dame.
Hafford already had a brief stint with the Patriots – he was signed as a UDFA after the draft but released before spring practices. Wright, also a UDFA, stands out as a fit due to the Alabama connection and his special teams experience.
Elliott is the only non-rookie of the group he was signed by the Lions as a UDFA in 2020 (when Matt Patricia was the head coach in Detroit) and played eight games for the team over two years.
To this point, none of those other three players have signed with the team. Following Hawkins’ signing, the team still has four open spots on the 90-man roster.
UPDATE: The Patriots also signed Jalen Elliott, who joined Hawkins at practice on Tuesday.