DeAndre Hopkins

For the Houston Texans to be more than just a playoff team but a Super Bowl contender, they need more than one option in their passing game, and early opinions suggest that DeAndre Hopkins might finally provide them with that extra big-play wide receiver they’ve been looking for.

There’s only so much Andre Johnson can do when he’s double and triple teamed on almost every passing play. There’s also so much Arian Foster can keep doing on the ground when everyone knows he’s the first and second option for the Texans to go to.

Other problems aside, getting a playmaker in the draft was very important for the Texans going forward after two consecutive postseason berths. DeAndre Hopkins, coming out of Clemson (Junior), was picked in the first round of the draft as that “savior”.

Hopkins led the ACC in receiving yards (1405 yards) and touchdowns (18), enjoying a huge, career-kind-of-day in his final game as an amateur, catching 13 passes for 191 yards in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl win for the Tigers of LSU. He finished the season catching at least one touchdown pass in all 13 games.

According to wide receivers coach Larry Kirksey, Hopkins has answered, fulfilled and surpassed the expectations so far, which means they might not have to use someone from their unimpressive crop of wide receivers waiting for a chance as well – DeVier Posey, Lestar Jean and Keyshawn Martin, combining for only 22 catches last season.

I just think the kid’s a very talented young man. He’s got good size, good range, and outstanding ball skills. He works. From day one, every pass he caught he sprinted not 10, not 20, 30 but 40, 50 yards down the field after the catch. That’s what we ask for in our receivers. I think he’s off to a great start from that standpoint.

The Texans were “exposed” last season twice against the New England Patriots, a team that’s very hard to run against, but had no problem handling Houston’s limited passing attack. No one is expecting the Texans to become a team that airs it out on almost every possession, but without the upgrade it seems Hopkins might bring them, missing out on the AFC Championship game seems like something they’ll be experiencing more of in the next few years.

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