Top to bottom, the New England Patriots have the deepest roster in the NFL; the wide receiver position is no different. With recently acquired Brandin Cooks joining the returning core of Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan, Danny Amendola and Malcolm Mitchell, the Patriots have as talented, versatile and experienced a group of receivers as any team in the league.
However, that does not mean that the team’s scouting department and front office can stop worrying about the position until next year. After all, injuries happen and having potential replacements on speed dial never hurts. Seeing the Patriots work out an experienced option at the position is therefore no surprise (via ESPN’s Field Yates):
Source: former Browns WR Andrew Hawkins, who recently got his master's degree from Columbia, worked out for the Patriots today.
After going undrafted in 2009, Hawkins spent two years in the Canadian Football League before returning south to join the then-St. Louis Rams. He only lasted one summer with the team before getting waived and claimed by the Cincinnati Bengals, with whom he spent the next three seasons.
In Cincinnati, the 5’7, 180 lbs wideout appeared in 35 regular season games and three playoff contests and registered a combined 92 catches for 1,038 yards and four touchdowns. After the 2013 season, Hawkins joined the Cleveland Browns as a restricted free agent – and quickly made an impact.
The 2014 season was Hawkins’ best in the NFL: As the Browns’ leading receiver, he finished the year with 63 catches for 824 yards and a pair of scores. He failed to build on his success, though, and caught 60 more passes for 600 yards and three touchdowns over the next two years. Finally, in February, the Browns released the veteran.
As noted above, Hawkins would join a stacked wide receiver group if indeed signed by the Patriots. The chances of him actually making the team would therefore be close to nonexistent. However, there would be no harm in potentially bringing the 31-year old in as a camp body to learn the offense and serve as an insurance option in case one of the top wideouts gets hurt.