Wide Receiver Expected to Start Opposite Johnson
The Houston Texans hope they've finally landed a running mate and heir apparent to Andre Johnson. The Texans selected wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins from Clemson with the 27th pick in the first round of the NFL Draft Thursday night. Hopkins, who will be 21 in June, was a three-year starter at Clemson who starred in explosive offenses the past couple of seasons. He helps the Texans at a position of need, particularly after they released longtime receiver Kevin Walter after last season and lost fullback James Casey in free agency. "They don't have anybody else," says Adam Wexler, host for SportsTalk 790. "He has to win the job, he's going to win the job, he's going to get first team reps from day one, he will win the job."
Hopkins was the second wide receiver taken in this year's draft, behind only West Virginia's Tavon Austin, who went to St. Louis with the #8 pick. SportsTalk 790 host Lance Zierlein calls Hopkins the most "game-ready" receiver in the draft after Austin. "When you watch him at Clemson, he runs really good routes," says Zierlein. "He has the ability to play to a faster speed than his timed speed, so his 'game speed' is good." In addition to providing a complement to Johnson, the Texans are also hoping Hopkins can eventually become the team's next star receiver since Johnson will be 32 this summer and is entering his 11th NFL season.
This marks the second straight year the Texans have used the draft to shore up their receiving corps. Last year, they took DeVier Posey in the third round and Keshawn Martin in the fourth round, but neither made a major impact. Hopkins, however, is the first wide receiver taken by Houston in the first round since Johnson, who was drafted third overall back in 2003.
Check out video of DeAndre Hopkins here.