For years, the Houston Texans’ passing game has been a one-man show, with All-Pro wide receiver Andre Johnson shouldering the majority of the load. That’s all set to change with the addition of rookie DeAndre Hopkins, who appears to be turning heads early.
According to Nick Scurfield of HoustonTexans.com, Hopkins lit it up at the Texans’ rookie minicamp.
“DeAndre Hopkins looked every bit like a first-round draft pick. The Clemson wide receiver caught seemingly everything thrown his way, with at least one highlight-reel one-handed grab on all three days of practice. That included Sunday, when he caught a lofted deep ball from Case Keenum down the left sideline with his left hand while his right arm was being held by a defensive back who was on his back as Hopkins made the catch falling to the ground.”
So what does this mean for the Texans, quarterback Matt Schaub and Johnson?
Well first and foremost, the Texans finally have a legitimate No. 2 wide receiver to bolster their offense. Since joining the team in 2006, Johnson has yet to play across from another pass-catcher capable of dividing the defense’s attention. With Hopkins in the mix now, opposing secondaries will be forced to pay attention to the rookie, which should give Johnson more opportunities to wreak havoc.
Now that Hopkins is in the picture, Schaub has a reliable target opposite Johnson. In the past, the Texans No. 2 option has been Kevin Walter, a possession receiver who never provides much in the athleticism or explosion department. Even after drafting two receivers last year, the Texans still couldn’t find dependable depth. Hopkins will help Schaub reassert himself as one of the NFL’s top quarterbacks.
Overall, Hopkins brings electricity to the Texans offense. The rookie’s presence will take some of the pressure off Johnson while opening up the running game for Arian Foster and Ben Tate. He’s the dynamic addition that Houston needed.
“He’s special,” Texans head coach Gary Kubiak said. “Ball skills are extremely special. Very long, long arms. Big hands. You saw the catch he made out here today. He’s going to help us early, and we know that, and that’s why we brought him here.”
There’s still plenty of ground to cover for Hopkins, but the youngster is currently headed in the right direction. Assuming he can make a smooth transition from college stud to profession standout, the Texans should see plenty of production from the Clemson alum as he embarks on what should be an exciting NFL career.
I was a bit skeptical when the Texans took Hopkins at No. 27, but it seems to be working out so far. We’ll see during OTAs if he can keep the sparks flying the way he did against a bunch of inexperienced, unproven players.