After being selected in the fifth round by the Steelers out of the University of Illinois, Hawthorne couldn't fight through a knee injury and was eventually released. He was not signed to the team's practice squad, either, something surprising, considering he wasn't waived-injured at any point.
Regardless, Hawthorne is making a run at a pro career up north, having just signed afree agent deal with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the Canadian Football League.
Hawthorne spent some time on the Patriots practice squad last season but wasn't retained with the organization.
Whether the issue was injuries or just a lack of ability last year, Hawthorne stands out as a failed draft pick at a position largely considered a premium this offseason. The Steelers spent another fifth round pick on a cornerback in 2014, selecting Shaq Richardson out of Arizona. They also signed ex-Texans CB Brice McCain to compete along with Antwon Blake for cornerback depth behind Ike Taylor, Cortez Allen and William Gay.