Hopkins, who was traded a few weeks ago, was targeted 150 times last year, more than double any other receiver. He also accounted for 68 first downs in 2019, and 85 in 2018. That is a lot of significant, clutch production the Texans have to replace.
The Texans do have several players on their roster who have shown promise in previous seasons, and it is time for them to up their game.
Watson needs receivers he can trust, and if a few players can improve, there is a chance the offense can be even better. If defenses have to concentrate on multiple options in the passing game, instead of focusing on Hopkins, as in years past, Watson and the Texans’ offense could be hard to stop.
Houston Texans who need to improve: No. 4: Jordan Akins
Jordan Akins is six years younger than Darren Fells and started to surpass the veteran last season. Adkins saw more targets (55 to 48) and slightly more receptions (36 to 34), but the latter saw more action in the red zone (seven touchdowns to just two for Adkins).
That needs to change. Adkins has to become a force in the middle of the field. He needs to be able to get open and present himself as a big target to whom Watson can throw from either in the pocket or on the move.
At six feet, four inches, 243 pounds, Adkins has the size. He only has four drops in 80 career targets, so his hands are decent too. He can become a legitimate target for Watson if he can separate himself from the other tight ends on the roster.