If you look at the wide receiver position in the NFL, it’s easy to see the young talent lining up on the outside. In the last three drafts, 15 receivers have been selected in the first round, such as Amari Cooper, Brandin Cooks, and arguably the best wideout in the league, Odell Beckham Jr. The future looks bright for these stars, but none may have a higher ceiling than Houston Texans’ DeAndre Hopkins.
NFL fans may not know his name yet, which may have to do with the Texans’ mediocrity. While they made the playoffs with a .500 record, it was the defense that carried them. The offense was abysmal all year, with four quarterbacks getting meaningful playing time. The “best” of the group, Brian Hoyer, threw for 2,606 passing yards and 19 touchdowns, then proceeded to throw four interceptions and fumbling the ball once in the team’s 30-0 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in the wild-card round of the 2015 playoffs.
With inconsistent quarterback play, it’s easy to understand why Hopkins gets overlooked by the national media. Yet he still had 111 receptions for 1,521 yards and 11 touchdowns.
With Brian Hoyer playing average, Hopkins managed to look like superman with those numbers, even with multiple defenders on him for most of his games. He was their diamond in the rough, offensively.
Houston has the defense; it was just lacking a respectable passing game.
The keyword: was.
The front offense of the Texans decided to focus the draft and free agency primarily on the offense, and the results look promising. They signed potential stud quarterback Brock Osweiler to lead the offense, as well as running back Lamar Miller to keep defenses respecting the run game. Additionally, they drafted two dynamic wide receivers, Will Fuller and Braxton Miller.
Fuller is the fastest incoming rookie at receiver, running a 4.33 40-yard dash and Miller is a versatile slot receiver who will demand the defense’s attention. He can even get the ball to Hopkins through the air, being a two-time Big 10 Offensive Player of the Year as a quarterback.
All of the sudden, the abysmal offense looks to be potent for the 2016 season.
Can you imagine the stats Hopkins may put up now that he won’t be constantly double-teamed and has a quarterback that looks to be able to play consistent ball? The ceiling on his potential just grew significantly.
In no specific order, many people regard the best wide receivers to be a combination of Antonio Brown, Dez Bryant, Odell Beckham Jr., and Julio Jones. This upcoming year may prove Hopkins belongs in that elite group.
He was Second Team All-Pro last season with that offense; what will he be this season with this one?
If I had to put my money on the 2016 First Team All-Pro, DeAndre Hopkins would be one of my receivers. He is that talented, and now has the pieces around him to show his true potential. The Clemson product for years has always been overlooked. Sammy Watkins stole the spotlight in college as the #1 option for the Tigers, and the mediocre offense he’s dealt with in his first three seasons has hidden the talent that he is.
That will no longer be the case.
The Texans now have the overall offense to match the suffocating defense that carried them to playoffs last year. This season, they can be a Super Bowl contender with the overall talent they have. That will cause the spotlight to fall on Hopkins, who will be ready to answer the call as the superstar he truly is.
The rest of the league better be ready as well. He is one the best receivers in the NFL and people will understand why come fall.
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