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The Bengals don't need three slot receivers on their active roster, which could spell doom for Andrew Hawkins.
Right now, the Bengals have a ton of receivers on their roster and likely just six spots available on the active roster. Though Brandon Tate has been working a lot with the first team offense in minicamp and OTAs, that doesn't make him safe.
Tate is primarily a kick and punt returner—he had no receptions for the Bengals last season—and with so much depth at cornerback, he may not be needed to fill that role if Adam Jones reassumes those duties.
Chances are, the Bengals coaching staff had Tate with the first team for reasons of seniority and to see if there is any reason to keep him around as a receiver. If others step up in camp, Tate's spot could very much be in jeopardy.
For Andrew Hawkins and Ryan Whalen, it's simply about the glut of receiving talent currently on the roster that may force at least one of them out of Cincy this summer. Whalen, who caught four passes for 27 yards in his rookie 2011 season, could at least land on the practice squad.
Hawkins, on the other hand, is in more trouble. Hawkins was brought onto the active roster last season after slot receiver Jordan Shipley tore his ACL and caught 23 passes for 263 yards. With Shipley likely back at full health and Marvin Jones also looking for time in the slot, the undersized (5'7", 175 pounds) Hawkins might not have a use to the Bengals this year.