Andre Johnson is gone, leaving DeAndre Hopkins as the Houston Texans' unquestioned No. 1 wide receiver for this season. There are probably some folks who would say Hopkins was sorta, kinda already the No. 1 receiver last season, but I would disagree. His numbers look good, but let's not act like torching the Tennessee Titans didn't skew those stats a bit. Now I'm a firm believer that if a guy puts the numbers on the board, you can't ever totally discount them, but he didn't come close in any other week to matching his nine receptions and 238 yards in that game. And listen, the Titans were picking second in the draft this spring for a reason.
That's not to knock Hopkins. I'm just being real. I don't know if he will hit two bills again this season, but I damn sure would expect him to catch nine balls or more in more than one game. That's a reasonable expectation because this kid can do it all.
Want him to run a shallow crosser in traffic and hang on to the rock after contact? He got you!
Want him to take the top off the defense? He got you!
Want a timing route run precisely on third and short? He got you!
Want him to just go up and make a play with guys draped all over him? He definitely got you!
Even if Johnson had returned to the Texans this season, I think the torch would've still been passed to Hopkins. Yeah, I said it.
Hopkins is a guy who is going to get his every single week, whoever the quarterback is. That's the advantage of having blazing speed and also being tough enough to make catches over the middle. Defenses always have to give up something in coverage, and whatever that is Hopkins will gladly accept it and make even more out of it when it's all said and done. With more opportunities to shine, Hopkins is going to have Houston's scoreboard lit up like a roman candle. I'd actually expect all of Hopkins' numbers to go way up this year, and I think he could easily double his six touchdowns from last season.
If he can find a way to catch 12 or more touchdowns and at least repeat his reception totals and yardage numbers from last season, that would put him in pretty elite company. I happen to believe Hopkins is ready to do all that and then some.