DeAndre Hopkins will go down as the best Texans receiver ever
By Randy Gurzi
There was a prophetic moment during the HBO series “Hard Knocks” when Houston Texans receiver DeAndre Hopkins walked up to a stadium worker who was changing out a team banner. The banner featured former Texans receiver Andre Johnson, who was released by the team and now plays for the Indianapolis Colts. Johnson’s banner was taken down and replaced with one that featured Hopkins.
More from Houston Texans News
- Houston Texans: Can Sean Payton really be the next head coach?
- Houston Texans Draft: Michael Mayer should be a no doubter at pick 12
- Houston Texans already telling fans the Davis Mills era is over
- Houston Texans have hand forced, waste no time in firing Lovie Smith
- Houston Texans: Pros and Cons of keeping Head Coach Lovie Smith
On the field, the same change out has taken place. Hopkins seamlessly transitioned into a true number one wide out with a nine reception performance that saw him gain 98 yards and two touchdowns.
He showed good chemistry with quarterback Brian Hoyer as the two connected for the first Texans touchdown of the season with a four-yard red zone touchdown. He did even more damage when Ryan Mallett replaced Hoyer. Again in the red zone he hooked up with Mallett for a 10-yard score, only to top that off with a catch good for a two-point conversion.
It’s always said that it is harder to find open space when an offense is so close to the goal line, but three times in the opening game Hopkins was able to bring the ball in for a score.
Hopkins is in just his third NFL season and the 23-year old has seen his productivity rise in each of his previous years. If the game against the Chiefs is any indication, this season will be another step forward for “Nuk” Hopkins.
While it isn’t arguable that Johnson is the best receiver the Texans have had, what is up for debate is if that will remain the case when Nuk is done with his playing career.
Hopkins ability in the red zone is what will ultimately set him apart from his predecessor. In 11 season for the Texans Johnson put up some great numbers. He hauled in 1,012 receptions for 13,597 yards and 64 touchdowns.
Those numbers are absolutely nothing to be ashamed of and in no way am I knocking the success Andre had while in Houston. However, looking at his overall touchdown numbers, Johnson never had more than nine in a single season and for his career averaged 5.8 touchdown catches per year in his 11 seasons as a Texan.
Hopkins rookie season saw him only find the end zone twice, but he was able to triple that number in his second season with six. Now as he has taken on the role of the go-to-guy, he has developed his red zone ability which will help him do what Andre was unable to, get double digit touchdown catches in a season.
There is no reason not to believe that 10 or more touchdowns will be the norm for Nuk, as long as he continues to work hard at winning jump balls and running precise short routes in confined spaces, as he did in Week 1. Brining in touchdown receptions at a higher rate than Johnson did will earn him the title of Houston’s best receiver ever by the time his playing days are over.