Deshaun Watson is appreciative of his former Houston Texans teammate DeAndre Hopkins, but now he has to move on.
The Houston Texans shocked the football world earlier this week when they traded Pro Bowl wide receiver, DeAndre Hopkins, to the Arizona Cardinals. Star quarterback Deshaun Watson was as taken aback then everyone else.
When Adam Schefter announced the deal that sent Hopkins to Arizona on Twitter on Monday, it was hard to believe. Why would you trade someone who was this talented and such a big part of your offense?
Watson seemed surprised by the trade of his favorite target but appreciative of his former teammate’s contributions, on and off the field.
In his seven years with the Texans, Hopkins caught 632 passes for 8,602 yards and 54 touchdowns. A stat that stands out for Hopkins is 457 of his receptions, or 72 percent, were for first downs.
The Texans will miss Hopkins, but it is not as if there is no talent at the receiving positions. Will Fuller set a career-high in 2019 with 49 receptions. Keke Coutee should be ready to step into the limelight after two mediocre seasons of development.
In addition, the Texans added veteran Randall Cobb to the mix. Cobb brings 525 NFL catches to the table, including 55 last year with the Cowboys.
Kenny Stills offers a veteran presence for Watson on whom to rely as well. The 2020 NFL Draft seems to be deep at the wide receiver position, so the Texans might find even more help there.
The Texans got David Johnson in the deal for Hopkins, and Johnson has a history of being an effective receiver out of the backfield when healthy. In 2016, he set a career-high with 80 catches for the Cardinals, and he has 208 receptions as a Cardinal.
If he is healthy and can produce as he did in 2016 and 2018, then David Johnson can be a valuable asset in both the passing and running games. It would certainly take some pressure off Watson and allow the Texans to open up the offense more.
Watson is a star quarterback most teams would love to have behind center. He has 9,716 passing yards and 71 touchdowns in only 37 career games. He’s also a danger to run, with 1,233 rushing yards, so defenses have to account for him when he leaves the pocket.
Hopkins was Watson’s security blanket, his go-to guy. Watson relied on Hopkins to get open and to get the tough first downs. He is going to have to develop that kind of trust with his remaining receivers.
While Watson was obviously surprised by losing Hopkins, he has to know it will be up to him to elevate the play of those around him. He has to make a star receiver out of the talented group that is still on the roster. Look for Watson to get this done!
If the Texans can get solid production from their tight ends and David Johnson can return to the Pro Bowl form, there isn’t any reason to expect a drop in offensive production. There are still plenty of weapons at hand. After all, they still have Deshaun Watson.