DeAndre Hopkins: Exploring The Possibilities

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As a fan of the Houston Texans it’s difficult at times to temper my enthusiasm about the new rookie DeAndre Hopkins. With the expectations of the Houston Texans going forward there are so many reasons to be excited going into this season. This is not meant by any means to put unrealistic expectations on the new Texan, but it’s a snapshot of what could be.

The Setup

Let’s look at the Texans top pick DeAndre Hopkins, most of the time it’s always said that rookie receivers don’t make much of an impact on a team their first year. I don’t agree with that especially, with the success of recent rookies coming into the league. I believe that most teams place more on their young player’s plate as saviors of the franchise and this causes them to develop slowly. The best scenario for a young receiver to come into is one in which a team has a number one receiver and the rookie can learn from him. Situations like these usually help promote the growth and maturity of the young receiver and eventually usher in their eventual succession of the veteran receiver.

For example look at teams like the Atlanta Falcons with Roddy White being the veteran receiver and Julio Jones being the heir apparent. Jones’ success has come by the fact that he didn’t have to carry the offense by himself, he just came in and had the game simplified for him so that it wouldn’t stunt his growth. This is the way I see the Texans bringing along Hopkins. The franchise player (Andre Johnson) is in place now they can just simplify the playbook for Hopkins so that he can progress steadily, while taking on more as the season goes along.

The Possibilities

The way I see it is that Hopkins will come in and run the short to intermediate routes, while Johnson runs the deep routes. Hopkins can use his explosion off the line and short area quickness to create separation early on, while using his hands and large catching radius to fend off defensive backs. Hopkins excels at comeback routes, hitches, and in routes. When the Texans picked Hopkins as their guy it was because of his ability as a receiver, knowledge of the route tree, and the methodical way he makes all his routes look the same. This is a key component in the Texans’ offensive scheme, the ability to make all plays look the same regardless of formation. His ability as a receiver will open up the offense as Matt Schaub will have another reliable receiver that can get separation. There will be an adjustment period for the rookie in regards to his release off of press coverage, and blocking responsibilities in the rushing offense but it shouldn’t slow his development as a receiver.

As the season progresses I believe Hopkins will open up the middle of the field for the tight ends as well as the slot receivers. The fact that Hopkins can execute “9” routes and various other deep routes means the potential for more two high safeties for the defense. This in return opens up the rushing attack for the Texans which they relish doing and control the tempo of the game. Of course this is just a snapshot of what Gary Kubiak can do with Hopkins in the lineup, but make no mistake this offense will be able to ascend to another level that we hadn’t seen due to the addition of Hopkins.

I’m just hoping that Kubiak doesn’t holster his new weapon and opens up the offense more than he has in the past.