Houston Texans Drafted the Best Receiver Not Named Tavon Austin


DeAndre Hopkins makes the Texans offense more explosive, adds depth to the wide receiver spot, and gives Matt Schaub a reliable set of hands that will come in handy if Andre Johnson actually has a bad day sometime soon.

Sep 29, 2012; Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, USA; Clemson Tigers wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (6) during the fourth quarter against the Boston College Eagles at Alumni Stadium. Clemson won 45-31. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

But was he the best option with the 27th overall pick?

Tavon Austin, the Rams’ new solution to Danny Amendola’s contract with New England, was probably the best available receiver this year. Don’t take it the wrong way, Hopkins was touted as one of the best too, but after a five star combine performance, Austin was the wide receiver that every fan (especially the Jets), wanted.

Right next to Austin though, Hopkins stands. And as so many top offensive prospects still remain available heading into day two, it once again shows that the Texans never really had to worry about missing out on a go-to wide receiver.

What puts Hopkins in Austin’s elite caliber class, isn’t just his stats. He did have 3,020 total yards with Clemson, and 27 touchdowns, but it’s so much more than that.

When you look at guys like Cordarelle Patterson, the Minnesota Vikings second answer to Percy Harvin, there’s a lot that isn’t there. Patterson is still raw, mainly thanks to playing only one season with Tennessee. He lacks the great pair of hands that Hopkins has, and can have issues reeling in tough passes.

Robert Woods has issues to his name as well. Still undrafted heading into round two, I thought Woods was the Texans’ best option if Hopkins and Justin Hunter weren’t available. He’s an awesome route runner and endzone threat, but he lacks the strength and burst from the line of scrimmage that some of the best receivers have.

As it stands right now, if the Texans somehow went for a cornerback or linebacker in round one and we were sitting here talking about wide receivers still – with Hopkins already off the board –  Hunter would be the guy worth choosing. He’ll likely be drafted in round two, and is one of the best receivers when it comes to securing tough contested balls.

But what Hopkins has going for him, probably isn’t physical. There’s just a lot of hype around him as one of the bigger receivers in his class, and when you’re drafted to perhaps one day replace Andre Johnson, people are going to talk.

Hopkins will provide the Texans with a lot once he is fully developed. And of course he has weaknesses, just like any other. There’s room for a bit more bulk to be added in the next year or two, and he can struggle in the blocking game from time to time, something that will be watched heavily when Arian Foster touches the ball.

Yet those few minor nitpicks are overshadowed by what we can hopefully expect from him. At Clemson, he was an every down receiver, managing 22 catches on third down, and averaged most of his yards in the middle of the field on shorter routes. The Texans would receive a top grade after their round one performance, because it’s answered every need.

Rick Smith continues to plug up problem areas this offseason.

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