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5 Things to Know About New Chargers S Jaylinn Hawkins

Danny Karnik/AP
Danny Karnik/AP

The Chargers on Wednesday claimed safety Jaylinn Hawkins off waivers and placed safety Raheem Layne on Injured Reserve with a torn ACL.

Here are five things to know about Hawkins:

1. Joining from Atlanta

Hawkins joins the Bolts after starting the season with the Falcons.

The fourth-year safety played limited snaps on defense throughout Atlanta's first six games, finishing with three total tackles.

His biggest role on the Falcons this season came on special teams, where he was a key contributor and played more than 75 percent of the teams snaps in five out of the first six games.

2. Plenty of experience

Hawkins started his NFL career in Atlanta after getting drafted in the fourth round (134th overall) of the 2020 NFL Draft.

He has plenty of game experience having started 22 of 48 career games for Atlanta. He's totaled 110 tackles (58 solo), four interceptions, nine passes defensed, 0.5 sacks, a tackle for loss, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery for a touchdown.

His first NFL touchdown came in Week 6 of the 2022 season against the 49ers, which was arguably the best game of his career so far. Hawkins recovered a fumble in the end zone for that touchdown, intercepted a ball and defended a pass all in the same game enroute to a Falcons victory.

Hawkins' biggest role came in that 2022 season, starting in 16 games and playing the third-most defensive snaps on the Falcons. He racked up 84 total tackles (45 solo), notched two interceptions and six passes defensed.

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3. Special teams contributor

As mentioned above, Hawkins' biggest role with Atlanta this season came on special teams, an area where he's shown the ability to make an impact.

Hawkins had the second-most special teams snaps on Falcons through the first six games of the season and has played 547 snaps in that facet of the game throughout his 48 career games.

According to Pro Football Focus, Hawkins has totaled 14 tackles in his career on special teams, including five this season, which is already a career-high for the safety.

4. Return to SoCal

Hawkins is making his return to Southern California, a place he knows very well.

The safety is a native of Buena Park, which is about 15 miles from the Chargers facility in Costa Mesa. It's a homecoming for Hawkins, who made a name for himself at Buena Park High School as a two-way wide player at receiver and cornerback.

Hawkins was a first-team All-Southern Section Southwest Division selection at Buena Park High and had a monster senior season on both sides of the football.

On the defensive side in his final year, he finished 60 tackles, 2.0 tackles for loss, three interceptions while on offense, he finished with 80 catches, 1,476 yards receiving (18.5 yards per reception) and 16 touchdown catches while leading his school to an 11-2 record.

5. Success at Cal

Hawkins was a four-star recruit coming out of Buena Park and attended California at Berkeley. Although he was recruited as a wide receiver, he made the move to safety before the 2016 season.

And after redshirting his freshman year, Hawkins would go on to play four seasons with the Golden Bears and was the only Cal player to participate in all 50 games possible during that time stretch.

He finished his Cal career with 158 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, 2.0 sacks, 10 interceptions (which ranks in the top 10 in school history), seven pass breakups, 17 passes defended and three forced fumbles.

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