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Meet the Newest New England Patriot: Jaylinn Hawkins

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Los Angeles Chargers safety Jaylinn Hawkins walks on the sideline during an NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens Monday, Nov. 27, 2023, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

The New England Patriots designated safety, Kyle Dugger with the transition tag earlier this month, though Dugger remains unsigned for now. The Patriots parted ways with safeties Adrian Phillips and Jalen Mills this offseason as well. On Thursday they did something to improve their depth at the position. Free agent Jaylinn Hawkins agreed to sign with New England, according to reports.

NFL Network’s Mike Garofolo was the first to report the signing.

Jaylinn Hawkins

The Atlanta Falcons selected Hawkins in the fourth round (No. 134 overall) of the 2020 NFL Draft. He played college football for the Cal Golden Bears. Jaylinn Hawkins played in all 50 games for Cal during his four-year career. He recorded three interceptions at the 2018 Cheez-It Bowl, earning Defensive Most Valuable Player honors. Hawkins measures 6-foot-1 and weighs 208 pounds.

Hawkins started 16 games for Atlanta as recently as 2022. He recorded a career-high 84 tackles on the season. Hawkins role diminished in 2023 after Atlanta signed All-Pro safety Jesse Bates. The Falcons released Hawkins on Oct. 17, 2023. He was not out of work for long.

The Chargers claimed Jaylinn Hawkins off waivers. He played the final 10 games of the 2023 season with Los Angeles, starting three.

Over his four-year career, Hawkins has played in 58 games with 25 starts. He recorded 135 tackles (72 solo), with 10 passes defended and four interceptions.

Patriots Wide Receivers

Kyle Dugger re-signing is still a top priority for the Patriots. Jabrill Peppers is under contract and would start opposite Dugger if he returns. Marte Mapu and Joshuah Bledsoe are the only other safeties currently under contract in New England. There should be an opportunity for Hawkins to not just earn a roster spot, but meaningful playing time as well.

The New England Patriots hope that Jaylinn Hawkins works out as well as the last safety they signed from the Chargers who wore No. 37. That player is in the Patriots Hall of Fame: Rodney Harrison.

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