The number one need for the Houston Texans going into the 2013 NFL Draft was a playmaking wide receiver to line up opposite Andre Johnson. In fact, last week, Johnson voiced his desire for the team to select a receiver with their first round pick. His wish was granted when Houston chose DeAndre Hopkins out of Clemson with the 27th pick in the first round.
The selection of Hopkins was right on time for the Texans. It was the first time since 2008 that they used their first round pick on an offensive player. The last four Houston first-round picks have been on the defensive side of the ball. Gary Kubiak and offensive coordinator Rick Dennison will look to integrate Hopkins into the offense immediately. The Texans number two receiver spot is wide open after the release of long time starter Kevin Walter this offseason.
As expected, news also came out this week that WR Devier Posey will begin the season on the PUP list as he continues to recover from a torn Achilles, suffered in the playoffs. That made the receiver position even more of a pressing need for the Texans to address and they did it in a big way. In three seasons at Clemson, Hopkins set school receiving records with 3,020 yards and 27 touchdowns. As a junior in 2012, he had 82 catches for a school-record 1,405 yards and ACC-record 18 touchdowns.
Expect Hopkins to start from day one. When asked about the plans for him in the Texans offense, head coach Gary Kubiak insinuated that would be the case. “I’m expecting it right off the get-go,” Kubiak said after being asked how quickly Hopkins might be ready for a big role. “He’s going in there, he’s gonna get the reps. It’s gonna be a very competitive situation, but we took him there because we expect him to play very, very early and touch (the ball).”
Houston has big plans for Hopkins, and rightly so. The quicker he’s integrated into the offense, the better. His presence on the opposite side of the field will not only alleviate pressure off of Johnson, but jump start the Texans vertical passing attack. Johnson, Matt Schaub, Owen Daniels and all of the Texans offense will benefit from having another weapon on the outside.