A week into free agency, and the Houston Texans still have a list of positions they need to sort out this offseason. Depending on who you ask, most will say that finding a wide receiver is number one, followed by a safety and a linebacker or two.
Last week we looked at Uconn’s outside linebacker Sio Moore, a guy the Texans could pick up in the second or third round to take over from Connor Barwin. Now we check out the offense, and instead of discussing frontrunners like Tavon Austin, we take a look at wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins from Clemson, a name that continues to be linked with the Texans.
Here’s the run down:
DeAndre Hopkins, Wide Receiver, Clemson.
6’1, 205 pounds.
There will be a ton of teams vying for Hopkins in the first, depending if Austin and Keenan Allen go earlier or not. He’s helped out his draft stock a lot since Clemson’s pro day, posting a 4.5 40-yard time compared to his 4.57 at the Combine. What makes Hopkins a special player though is his commitment to hard work, and his overall skill package that features few problems.
Hopkins has drawn a lot of comparisons lately, mainly to Reggie Wayne and Roddy White. Neither of these really mean much if you ask me – because he’s his own sort of player, ranking first in overall receiving yards and touchdowns at Clemson.
The skillset that people talk about doesn’t feature a whole lot of speed either, like most prospects have to their name. Typically, Hopkins is a physical receiver, and he wants the ball on every down. He shows great explosiveness coming off the line, and looks like he can be a solid run blocker straight away in the NFL.
What’s fun about Hopkins though is that there’s so much more to come. He’s still fairly undersized at 205-pounds, even though some say he is a little heavier (closer to 210). Even so there’s plenty of room to add some bulk on, probably a quick fix if Hopkins hits the weight room with Andre Johnson – and not to mention his height is a big plus.
The only real problem here is Hopkins’ catching. He had 82-receptions in 2012 for 18 touchdowns, but can rush plays sometimes. It could be about nerves or could be about having his feet set before he turns, either way focus, focus, focus.
How Could He Help the Texans?
Hopkins offers the Texans a heap. He may may have issues securing the ball in at times, but he’s a flexible receiver who is good on short, intermediate and deep routes – a perfect setup for a number two guy. There’s also so much reliability here. Hopkins caught a pass in each of his last 36 games as a Tiger, and shows a great deal of work ethic at practices and maturity in the media.
If the Texans did take him at the 27th spot, they’d also be landing a guy that has punt return ability. Hopkins returned punts for a total of 82-yards in his career with Clemson, and also helped out on kick returns from time to time.
But at best, Hopkins can be hard for defenders to cover. He uses a lot of head fakes and likes to draw the corner in and then create separation, and can also take a defender down the sideline or dish out a big block on a run play.
If the Texans do choose to take a receiver in the first round, there’s not many better. Bulking Hopkins up is easy, drafting him before anyone else is a little harder.
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