Hopkins to Lead League in Yards?

SI's Albert Breer thinks DeAndre Hopkins is the favorite to lead the NFL in receiving yards.
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Cardinals wideout DeAndre Hopkins has finished in the top four in receiving yards during three of the past four seasons, including being second in 2018 behind Julio Jones. 

He has three first-team All-Pro selections and made the second team during his debut season with the Cardinals in 2020.

What he has yet to accomplish is lead the NFL in receiving yards. 

Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer believes that Hopkins will check that box this year, stating so in a mailbag article on Wednesday:

"Cardinals WR DeAndre Hopkins. I considered Stefon Diggs to repeat here, and Davante Adams should be in the mix if Aaron Rodgers is back in Green Bay. But I like Hopkins, mostly because I think Arizona’s going to lean on him. A.J. Green doesn’t have much left, and I think having the ability to put burners like Andy Isabella and Rondale Moore on the field together should open things up for the not-super-fast Hopkins, the way Will Fuller used to open things up for him in Houston."

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (10) alongside Larry Fitzgerald (11) during training camp at State Farm Stadium.

Hopkins lined up with Christian Kirk, Larry Fitzgerald and tight end Dan Arnold primarily last year. 

Arnold signed with Carolina this offseason while Fitzgerald has yet to announce his plans to play again or retire. Kirk is back for his fourth NFL season while Green and Moore are the new arrivals.

The Cardinals and Green have obviously pushed back against the idea that he has little to offer at age 33 (in July). He created the least separation among qualified receivers in the league per NFL's NextGen Stats in 2020, but he was coming off a stretch in which he played nine games in two seasons. 

He is another year removed from the injuries and gets to pair up with one of the game's greatest targets in Hopkins. Plus, he has quarterback Kyler Murray to throw him the ball, who at 67.2 percent, had the 11th-highest completion percentage in the league in 2020. 

Moore comes in as a speedster with the potential to become a menace in space over the middle or on go-routes. 

Along with Kirk, who was most dynamic down the field last year, Moore can help open things up for Hopkins. 

There are certainly questions regarding the receiving corps, but there is also potential for Hopkins to get more help than he had last year. Still, he will be targeted a lot.

Another big factor in Hopkins' production could be the experience he has gained with Murray. The two had no OTAs, minicamp or preseason-game reps before taking the field together against San Francisco in Week 1 last season. Hopkins still broke the franchise record for receptions with 115, and wants to continue to gain chemistry with Murray. 

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) with wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (10) against the Washington Football Team at State Farm Stadium.

"Each year, it gets better, our chemistry and just getting to know each other," Hopkins said at minicamp. 

"I always say, Kyler and I get better when we mess up. Not when things go good, but the plays that we missed in practice. We're able to talk about it."

Murray also hurt his shoulder in Week 11, which limited what the offense could do down the stretch. This impacted the run game, as Murray took off less often, which in turn affected the passing attack. 

Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury has preached the theme of taking steps forward this offseason. 

This means for him as a third-year NFL head coach, for Murray as a third-year player and the offense as a whole. The best chance for Hopkins to finish No. 1 is for the Cardinals to make that push and become one of the elite offenses in the league.