Tanner Hawkinson Trying to Beat the Odds and Earn a Roster Spot

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May 10, 2013; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals fifth round draft pick guard Tanner Hawkinson works out during the Bengals ookie inicamp at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

Fifth-round pick Tanner Hawkinson didn’t get much recognition in college while playing at the University of Kansas, as he endured two coaching changes and four losing seasons. After he was drafted by the Bengals, most viewed him as a project who would “at-best” make the practice squad and hopefully develop into a quality backup in 2-3 years.

Fast-forward to the team’s fifth OTA session today, and Hawkinson was once again running with the first team offense at both tackle spots with Andre Smith absent and Andrew Whitworth out while recovering from knee surgery.

"It was quite a bit getting thrown in there right away but it’s what you want as a player. That way you learn the system a lot quicker, get acclimated to the type of play even if it’s just in helmet. It’s been great."

Whitworth wasn’t exactly a highly-regarded player coming out of LSU in 2006 either, and he’s become one of the game’s best tackles, and is serving as a great resource for Hawkins:

"He (Whitworth) doesn’t say something after every play, but he pulls me over a lot to talk to me. He’s been a great resource. It’s pretty much going over what Coach Alexander teaches because it’s different than what I had. He gives me tips that might make it a little easier to catch on to those techniques a little quicker."