DeAndre Hopkins Backs Claim as NFL's Top WR: 'I Know I'm the Best'

Mason Kern

Wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins has not been shy when asked where he feels he should be listed amongst the NFL's best active players at the position.

That is because he thinks he is No. 1.

On a recent episode of ESPN’s Jalen and Jacoby, Hopkins addressed the debate again. Pro Football Focus recently had Hopkins listed as an elite wideout in the slot, the second-best in the league in those situations behind only New Orleans Saints receiver Michael Thomas.

As a whole, however, Hopkins is not shy to say he is the best in the game.

His contention to arguments highlighting Thomas, Julio Jones of the Atlanta Falcons, among others, is that if he had a stable quarterback situation throughout his career to this point with the Houston Texans, he would have produced even more eye-popping numbers. 

“I played against both of those guys last year,” Hopkins said. “We beat the Falcons. Obviously, we lost to the Saints on a last-second field goal toward the end of regulation. I definitely think I’m the best. I know I’m the best. I know Mike (Thomas) is my boy. We were texting [recently], but he knows if I had (quarterback) Drew Brees my whole career what these numbers would be. Julio Jones, if I had (quarterback) Matt Ryan my whole career … he knows what these numbers would be. Those guys are definitely blessed to be in a position where their whole career they had a Pro Bowl quarterback — a quarterback that they had multiple seasons with. But I don’t complain. I don’t make excuses. I go out and work.”

Despite the signal-caller turnover, Hopkins and the Texans still amassed five AFC South division titles in the seven years he was with the franchise. In that time, Houston had 11 different quarterbacks start at least one game. Hopkins only had one season with one consistent starting gunslinger for all 16 games: Deshaun Watson in 2018.

The list is as follows, with games started in parentheses:

2013: Matt Schaub (8) / Case Keenum (8)

2014: Ryan Fitzpatrick (12) / Ryan Mallett (2) / Keenum (2)

2015: Brian Hoyer (9) / Mallett (4) / T. J. Yates (2) / Brandon Weeden (1)

2016: Brock Osweiler (14) / Tom Savage (2)

2017: Savage (7) / Deshaun Watson (6) / Yates (3)

2018: Watson (16)

2019: Watson (15) / AJ McCarron (1)

Even still, Hopkins has performed at a highly effective rate throughout his career. He has made four Pro Bowls (2015, 2017-19) and is a three-time first-team All-Pro (2017-19). He has garnered 8,602 yards on 632 receptions (13.6 per catch) and 54 touchdowns on 1,048 targets.

With the Cardinals, Hopkins pairs up with last season's Offensive Rookie of the Year quarterback Kyler Murray, who the franchise is expected to ride for the foreseeable future. Not accustomed to losing, Hopkins adds to an experienced, talented wide receiver corps that already featured likely Hall of Famer Larry Fitzgerald and budding star Christian Kirk.

After a five-win campaign a year ago, the addition of Hopkins immediately boosts the franchise's odds for a more successful season. The organization will seek their first NFC West division championship since 2015, when they went 13-3. With the offensive creativity of head coach Kliff Kingsbury pairing with Hopkins, many feel the Cardinals are set for a breakout year.

Hopkins, meanwhile, is just craving stable quarterback play to boost stock in his claims of being the best.

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