Can DeAndre Hopkins replace Andre Johnson?

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Nov 30, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans receiver DeAndre Hopkins (10) catches a third quarter touchdown pass against Tennessee Titans cornerback

Brandon Ghee

(38) at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports


Ex-head coach Gary Kubiak loved “Nuk” Hopkins right away into his Rookie training camp. He was reportedly “Mossing” Texans corners in practices, working hard in the weight room, and taking notes from All-Pro teammate Andre Johnson. The coaching staff knew he would produce right away in his rookie campaign.

In his first year as a pro, he was the starting wide receiver opposite Johnson for an offense led by quarterback Matt Schaub. This usually leads to failure as Schaub either threw passes to Andre Johnson or to defenders, but Nuk was able to start in all 16 games and bring in over 800 yards.

More importantly, he was able to show the explosiveness that he didn’t show to scouts in the NFL Combine. In his second career game, he hauled in 117 yards and a game winning touchdown against the Titans. This was one of the nine games where he finished with over 50 yards. DeAndre also averaged over 15.4 yards per reception, which isn’t a big drop off from his last Clemson season.

A 52/800/2 stat line is sneakily very impressive considering his age. Of all 21 year old rookies in NFL history, DeAndre Hopkins was 9th in yards per game. Receivers Randy Moss, Larry Fitzgerald, Josh Gordon, Jeremy Maclin, Percy Harvin, and Keenan Allen are all top 10 on this list, so he is in great company. More impressively, Nuk finished fourth all time in receiving yards as a rookie on a team that went 2-14 with second, third, and fourth string quarterbacks.

Touchdowns were hard to come by for the entire Texans offense. Schaub was booed out of the state, Gubiak’s health was collapsing, and running back Arian Foster only played 8 games. DeAndre’s lack of touchdowns as a rookie was more on the quarterback play and not DeAndre himself. He has proved he can score touchdowns with his 18 touchdown season as a junior at Clemson and in the following season.

Next: No Sophomore Slump Here