5 questions for Houston Texans entering 2020 season
2.) Just how much will the team miss DeAndre Hopkins?
There’s no easy way around it: Losing DeAndre Hopkins hurts … a lot.
Since the Texans took him back in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft, Hopkins hasn’t just been good — he’s been exceptional. Easily the most reliable, productive, and explosive aspect of the Houston offense in the pre-Deshaun Watson era, Hopkins got even better once he finally had a top-notch QB throwing to him.
He had a career-high 13 touchdowns in 2017 and then a career-high 1,572 receiving yards in 2018, both with Watson lining up under center. Despite missing a game in two of the three seasons he played with his fellow Clemson Tiger, Hopkins never had less than 96 receptions, 1,165 receiving yards, or seven touchdowns over the past three years.
At just 28 years old, he has long since staked his claim to being arguably the best wide receiver active in the NFL today — especially with Antonio Brown out of the sport for the time being and A.J. Green constantly beset by injuries.
Perhaps only Julio Jones or Odell Beckham Jr. can challenge Hopkins for supremacy at WR, but even then, Hopkins’ accomplishments are all the more impressive considering the laundry list of subpar QBs he had to deal with during the first four seasons he was a pro.
Of course, none of this matters any more if you’re a Houston Texans fan … because Hopkins now plays for the Arizona Cardinals.
Just how much will Watson and his teammates miss Hopkins this season? That’s one of the most pressing questions entering the 2020 season for this franchise.
Will Fuller will assume the mantle of being the new WR1 in this offense. The former Notre Dame product has shown flashes over the past four seasons, but he also has yet to play a full season (he’s missed a combined 22 regular season games over four years).
His running mates will be newly-acquired veterans Brandin Cooks and Randall Cobb, Kenny Stills (who is in his second season with the Texans), DeAndre Carter (who is in his third season with the Texans), and home-grown former draft pick Keke Coutee.
Collectively, they’ll be tasked with replacing the best offensive player in franchise history.