Andrew Hawkins' Game-Breaking Speed Makes Him Great Complement to A.J. Green

Brian Mazique@@UniqueMaziqueCorrespondent IIISeptember 23, 2012

CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 16:  Andrew Hawkins #16 of the Cincinnati Bengals runs in to the endzone to complete a 50-yard pass reception for a touchdown in the second half against the Cleveland Browns at Paul Brown Stadium on September 16, 2012 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Cincinnati defeated Cleveland 34-27.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

Through two games, Andrew Hawkins has proven to be a weapon for the Cincinnati Bengals. He's the type of player that is a legitimate threat to go the distance anytime he touches the ball.

Is he fast? 

Absolutely, NFL Draft Scout had him listed with a 4.3 40-time in his pre-draft workouts in 2008, but he has more than speed. He has the agility and instincts that make for a deadly run-after-the-catch threat. Those skills were clearly on display in Week 2 vs. the rival Cleveland Browns.

Andy Dalton was under pressure early in the fourth quarter. He scrambled to his right and found Hawkins. The second-year pro out of Toledo would do the rest. You can see the play here.

This type of play is nothing new for Hawkins, although many NFL fans may be getting their first real taste of him. Hawkins has had a long journey to the NFL. After starring at Toledo, he had a difficult time sticking with an NFL team.

Take a look at these highlights of Hawkins at Toledo:

He even appeared on Michael Irvin's reality show 4th and Long. The winner was to receive a contract with the Dallas Cowboys, but Hawkins finished second. He subsequently went to Canada to play professionally. 

Check out these highlights of Hawkins with the Montreal Alouettes of the CFL.

He's now in his second year after playing in 13 games for the Bengals in 2011. Hawkins is on pace to completely surpass all of his numbers from the prior year. In 2011, he had a modest 23 receptions for 263 yards and no touchdowns. Through two games this season he has 10 catches, 142 yards and the dynamic score against the Browns.

In the open field Hawkins can wreak havoc, and that threat only makes A.J. Green even more deadly. He's the Bengals' unquestioned No. 1 option, but he needs a secondary threat. In 2011 Jerome Simpson played that role, and his athleticism was threat defenses had to account for.

As dangerous as Simpson could be, Hawkins is even more of a problem for defenses. He stands only 5'7", but his speed and elusiveness are difficult to handle. The Bengals' dynamo can obviously stretch the field, but he's also shown solid hands. 

In Week 1, Hawkins caught eight passes for 86 yards proving he is more than a gadget player. His versatility should help the Bengals' passing game all season.

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