Bengals wide receiver Andrew Hawkins wasn’t invited to the 2008 NFL Scouting Combine, but he has made an NFL career for himself nonetheless, and he did it the hard way, working from undrafted free agent from Toledo to reality show contestant on Michael Irvin’s “Fourth and Long” to the CFL to finally sticking in Cincinnati.
In addition to having a back story that highlights a certain fortitude, the 5-foot-7, 180-pound Hawkins is also a long-time fan and observer of the Combine, despite not being an invitee after his collegiate career.
In an interview with Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com for a story published Tuesday, the 27-year-old Hawkins gave his take on the importance of the Combine for a wide receiver — or any player, for that matter.
“I think it’s valuable,” Hawkins, who has 86 career catches, told Bengals.com. “The combine shows you more what a player isn’t than what he is. You can coach up somebody to run the 15 routes he has to run at the combine (against no defenders).
“If a guy goes in there and can’t catch the ball when no one is guarding him, well, you can’t imagine he’ll have better hands when a defender is draped all over him. . . . If he can’t run a comeback route with no coverage, I can’t imagine he can run a better comeback route with somebody pushing and grabbing him 20 yards downfield.”
Hawkins, who is a restricted free agent, told Bengals.com he’s recorded the Combine “since I had a VCR my freshman year in college.”
He recalled DeSean Jackson’s workout as one that was especially outstanding.
“That’s the year I came out. He went out there and I remember he weighed like 169 pounds. There were a lot of questions and he ran a 4.33 40 and he was still the (seventh) receiver taken,” Hawkins told Bengals.com. “Going back, he probably would have been a No. 1 pick. A top 10 pick if people knew then what they know now.”
Hawkins, for his part, told Bengals.com that he believes he would have been a fourth-round pick in 2008 if teams had the benefit of hindsight on his skill set.
And from the sound of it, he could be a valuable contributor to someone’s draft coverage now or in the future.