DeAndre Hopkins | Wide Receiver | Clemson | 6'1, 214 Pounds
It's easy to lose track of the talented wide receivers in the 2013 NFL Draft. The class doesn't have a slam dunk prospect like A.J. Green, but there are as many as 10 wideouts that could hear their name called in the first two rounds of the NFL Draft.
One name to keep track of on draft weekend is DeAndre Hopkins of Clemson. While he doesn't have the speed of Cordarrelle Patterson or Tavon Austin, the two wide receivers garnering most of the attention in this class, Hopkins is just as effective at getting open. He left Clemson early after amassing over 1,400 receiving yards and 1,800 all-purpose yards this season for Clemson.
The wide receiver class will be a matter of preference between the various teams in the league. Hopkins could very well sit at the top of a lot of wide receiver boards, and he has a chance to be the first wideout taken.
Hopkins consistently gets open because of the precise routes he runs. He's crisp in his motions and sets up his routes well with head fakes and other subtle movements to get open on the outside. While he doesn't have the jaw-dropping speed of some others in this class, his 4.41 time in the 40-yard dash fits how he plays on the field, as he's quick to get down the field and make plays.
When the ball is in the air, Hopkins' focus is top notch. He is in complete control of his body when attacking the football, and he high-points passes with regularity, so his ability to catch in traffic should translate to the next level. Hopkins' hands are among the best in the draft, and he's tough enough and physical enough to handle contact over the middle while maintaining his focus to bring in passes.
His body control will help him at all levels of the defense. While he is able to control himself along the sidelines and make tough catches, he also knows how to elude defenders in the open field after the catch and has the quick feet to do so.
At 6'1, Hopkins doesn't have the ideal height to be a boundary wide receiver on the outside, but his skill set should make-up for his slight lack of size. More concerning is Hopkins' inability to beat press coverage consistently. He needs to get stronger and learn how to use his hands better to beat the jam or he will struggle at the next level. As a blocker, Hopkins has shown flashes but needs some work.
There are very few holes in Hopkins' game and his skills project to translate well to the NFL. He will inevitably get stronger once he's in an NFL weight program, and that's really the only issue with his game at this point. With Keenan Allen's knee injury still a question mark, Hopkins grades out as our top wide receiver in this draft class.
Pro Comparison: Roddy White, Atlanta Falcons
This comparison has been made a bit, but it makes sense. Roddy White and Hopkins could both be accused of lacking elite size, but the precision in the rest of their skills makes up for it. Both players run tremendous routes and have reliable hands, two skills that would make any quarterback happy.