Before this article goes underway, let's address the one question lingering on all of your minds: Who is Andrew Hawkins?
Hawkins is an undersized receiver with blazing speed that signed with the Rams on January 12th, 2011, a time when most Ram fans were still recovering from a heartbreaking loss to the Seattle Seahawks in the season finale. Listed at 5'7" and 175 lbs, Hawkins' 40-yard dash is typically clocked anywhere from the 4.3 to 4.4 range.
In college, the receiver played for four seasons at the University of Toledo, collecting 1,107 yards and five touchdowns on 67 receptions. After going undrafted in the 2008 NFL Draft, Hawkins headed north to the CFL where he was a pass-catcher for the Montreal Alouettes for two seasons. During his time as an Alouette, Hawkins managed 457 yards and five touchdowns on 41 receptions.
What Role Could He Play?
When you think of Hawkins, think of him as a smaller, faster Danny Amendola with inferior hands. He does pose a threat in the slot, as his speed would be a large concern for most defenses. Because of his small stature however, play-calling for the mini-rocket would be limited to underneath routes and quick hitters. So while he does have the ability to have an impact on the passing game every so often, he doesn't have the necessary size to be ran out onto the field on a large majority of plays.
Where he does bring the most value though is at special teams. In the CFL he proved to be a sound and dependable tackler as a gunner for the Alouettes. He is a master of taking out the legs of runners and his speed allows him to be quicker to the ball than your typical special teams player.
Another option that can't be ignored is the possibility of Hawkins being a kick returner. He has shown plenty of ability at the position throughout his career and his blend of speed, agility, and strength makes him an ideal kick returner for a team that could really use one. Currently, the Rams use Danny Amendola as their kick returner, and while he has been doing a terrific job at the position, many people recognize it would be in everyone's best interest if they kept Amendola as strictly a wide receiver: protecting him from big hits and saving his energy.
Will He Make It?
I believe that when all is said and done, Hawkins will be a member of this team. He possesses interesting upside as a playmaker and his value as a special teamer won't go overlooked by the Rams. Don't expect Hawkins to come in and immediately play up to the level of a Brandon Banks, but he could be a valuable asset to a team needs all of the weapons it can find.