Everyone knows Andrew Hawkins' impressive history making it as an NFL wide receiver. After watching his older brother Artrell play football for the Cincinnati Bengals, Hawkins left to play college ball at Toledo, went undrafted and began his professional football career with the Montreal Alouettes, posting 41 receptions for 457 yards and five touchdowns in two seasons. He was the runner-up to Jesse Holley on Michael Irvin's reality show 4th and Long, which presented the winner with an invitation to the Dallas Cowboys training camp. In 2011 he signed a contract with the St. Louis Rams, but was cut on August 1. The Bengals submitted a claim for Hawkins, joining the team the next day.
Yet he didn't make the 53-man roster after final cuts. Instead he signed onto Cincinnati's practice squad, receiving a promotion when Jordan Shipley suffered a knee injury during the second week against the Denver Broncos in 2011. And in 13 games, primarily as a special teams ace, Hawkins posted 23 receptions for 263 yards receiving and 25 yards rushing on five carries.
Hawkins' stock has exponentially risen since.
The Bengals released Shipley during training camp, who was their third-round pick in 2010, primarily because of the confidence they had with Hawkins in the slot. And through four games this season, Hawkins has generated 247 yards rushing on 15 receptions with both of his touchdowns coming from 50 and 59 yards respectively -- both of which gave the Bengals a two touchdown lead in the fourth quarter against the Browns and Redskins respectively.
NFL analyst Greg Cosell, with NFL Films and ESPN's NFL Matchup, joined Doug Farrar on his weekly podcast at Yahoo! Sports' Shutdown Corner and spoke highly of Hawkins.
"Well, I was on him last year, and I'm surprised he didn't play more. I remembered him having a very good game around mid-last season against Pittsburgh, and then, you didn't see him a ton. He strikes me as the ideal slot receiver. He's small, but so is Wes Welker. And I think he has great lateral quickness -- he can run all those kinds of option whip routes that slot receivers run. He's got pretty good speed -- he had that 50-yard touchdown up the seam against the Redskins. I got a chance to talk to him at the Super Bowl because I know his brother, Artrell, very well, and he's a great kid. I think he'll continue to be a factor, because of the A.J. Green factor."
Hawkins is currently on pace for 988 yards receiving on 60 receptions and eight touchdowns.