The New England Patriots have had a reputation for years now of acquiring free agent players that were considered after-thoughts by other NFL teams. They still are holding onto this philosophy as they signed wide receiver Andrew Hawkins Wednesday afternoon to a one-year deal.
The signing comes up after finishing up his master’s degree at Columbia University.
Hawkins graduated from Columbia University in 2017 with a master’s degree in Sport Management from the School of Professional Studies with a 4.0 GPA. Now that Hawkins is done with his master’s degree and signed with the Patriots, let’s evaluate who Andrew Hawkins is.
Hawkins is originally from Johnstown, Pennsylvania. He attended Bishop McCort High School in his hometown of Johnstown where had a successful football career. In his senior season as a running back, he rushed for 562 yards and 10 touchdowns; good enough for All-Conference honors. He also was named second-team All-State as a defensive back by PA Football News and Associated Press.
Hawkins decided to go play collegiate football at The University of Toledo. He played wide receiver and cornerback for the Rockets, becoming the first player in 48 years to do so for the school. In four seasons, he finished his career with 67 receptions for 1,107 yards and five touchdowns as a wide receiver. As a cornerback, he had two forced fumbles, one blocked punt and 21 tackles.
Hawkins was not fortunate enough to feel the magnitude that is being drafted into the NFL. He went undrafted in 2008. He worked out for the Cleveland Browns but did not sign and went the entire 2008 season without playing football.
In 2009, Hawkins signed in the Canadian Football League with the Montreal Alouettes. He played for two seasons, accumulating 41 receptions, 457 yards and five touchdowns in his time with Montreal. The Alouettes won back to back Grey Cup championships in Hawkin’s two seasons with the team.
After the CFL, Hawkins finally made it to the NFL. He signed with the St. Louis Rams in January of 2011, but was released by the Rams in August that same year. Hawkins was claimed off waivers by the Cincinnati Bengals in August of 2011 and spent his next three seasons there. Over his time with Cincinnati, he caught 96 passes for 995 yards along with four touchdown receptions. His best season came in 2012 where he has 51 receptions, 533 yards and four touchdown catches.
After Cincinnati, Hawkins signed an offer sheet to play for the Cleveland Browns in March of 2014. Hawkins played for the Browns from 2014-2016. During his tenure with the Browns, he had 113 total receptions, 1,424 receiving yards and five touchdowns. His best season came in 2014 when he led the Browns with 63 catches for 824 yards and two touchdowns.
Time will tell to see if Hawkins will make the Patriots roster and make an immediate impact. However, Danny Amendola has played a crucial role as one of the Patriots’ top wide receiving options as an undrafted player. For now, Hawkins should enjoy the fact that he graduated from Columbia and signed with the Patriots in the same week.