DeAndre Hopkins played his career in “Death Valley” at Clemson University and certainly showed his prowess as a receiver each and every game he played. He decided after his junior season to leave early for the draft because at this point, his stock probably can’t get much higher. He certainly showcased what he can do even though the electric Sammy Watkins might have overshadowed him some while they were on the field together; nonetheless Hopkins has all the tools to make it big in the NFL.
At Clemson, Hopkins really demonstrated all the skills and qualities that any receiver needs to be able to make it on the next level. He finished his career with a total of 205 receptions, 3,005 receiving yards and 27 career touchdowns. Last year was his best year giving him what he needed to be able to make a strong case at being a legitimate NFL receiver. He finished with 82 receptions, 1,405 receiving yards and 18 touchdowns demonstrating his ability to be a number 1 receiver while Sammy Watkins was continually in and out of the lineup. His junior year put him among the top in the game in college and he showed time after time he could be a true, reliable target.
Hopkins was invited to the NFL combine where he put on a solid showing of his diverse skill set he possesses. He stands in a 6’1″ and weighs 214 pounds. He ran the 40 in an official time of 4.57 which is very average for a receiver but not bad considering he is more of a possession guy anyways. He benched 225 pounds 15 times which is solid for a receiver. Hopkins displayed solid leaping ability with a 36 inch vertical jump and some leg power as well with a 115 inch broad jump. His 20 yard shuttle results were an official time of 4.50 seconds, demonstrating good quickness in and out of breaks.
Hopkins is an all-around receiver that is extremely motivated to be great and a very dedicated individual. He certainly possesses great hands to snatch the ball out of the air, and although he lacks the ideal size of a number 1 target, he definitely plays bigger than his body frame. He demonstrates great body control when in the air and running his routes to create separation from the defensive back. He lacks the overall top speed that scouts covet, but he makes up for that with running crisp and smart routes, something that shouldn’t be overlooked. There are questions about his ability to break press coverage and get into his routes but that’s something that can be worked on more when he’s on his NFL team in the weight room and in practice. He is very natural at tracking the ball in the air and knows how to get in the best position to make the catch. An average leaper but knows when to leap at the right time to out jump defenders. Hopkins is also very durable which is huge for a receiver, you can always expect him to be out there which will help him and his new quarterback develop chemistry early on.
I would project Hopkins to go early to mid-2nd round and be an absolute steal for anyone who selects him. He has the best hands in the draft and that’s all you really need in a receiver, is their ability to consistently catch the ball. He has the makings of a number 2 starter right out of the gate and could develop into a number 1 over the next few years. Look for him to be very productive early in his rookie season and make an immediate impact on his new team.