Draft and Hawkinson figure as keys on future of Whitworth and Collins

USA TODAY Sports

With Anthony Collins still being an unknown on whether or not he will be here next season, Tanner Hawkinson could alter the way the Bengals address the left side of the line.

The will-he-stay-or-will-he-go debate surrounding the Bengals Anthony Collins has been one of several prominent discussions. However, through the endless debates and diatribes, one aspect of the debate that has been left out and that's the future of Tanner Hawkinson.

With Clint Boling possibly sidelined during training camp and a strong candidate for the team's Physically Unable to Perform list, the Bengals have decisions on the left side of the offensive line.

Obviously, in the fold is Andrew Whitworth, who has filled played left tackle, and played it well, for some time. Yet, I would argue though that the line improved when he moved inside against the San Diego Chargers during the regular season, manhandling many of his assignments throughout the rest of the season.

Developing on the team's depth chart is last year's fifth-round pick, Tanner Hawkinson. The 6-foot-5 300-pound offensive lineman played left tackle and left guard during the preseason and the Bengals, mostly, liked what they saw. Like Geoff Hobson writes, if the Bengals lose Collins, they have the luxury of Hawkinson filling in and, at the very least, a 2014 draft that's fairly deep at the tackle position.

Still, wouldn't it be nice if the Bengals held onto Collins and keep Hawkinson around for spot duty when needed? Kind of like a back up for the back up, the heir apparent to what Collins was for the Bengals for some time.

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