In the wake of DeAndre Hopkins‘ recent release from the Arizona Cardinals, NFL executives have been discussing the wide receiver’s future prospects as a free agent.
While Hopkins is widely regarded as one of the league’s premier talents, differing opinions have emerged regarding his current abilities and potential impact on a new team.
According to Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated, there appears to be a healthy divide among executives regarding what Hopkins brings to the table at this stage of his career.
One veteran team executive expressed skepticism, suggesting that the receiver have lost a step in terms of his top speed, stating, “Not much. He can’t run anymore.” This assessment raises concerns about Hopkins’ ability to create separation from defenders and contribute as a deep threat.
However, another executive held a more positive view, praising Hopkins for his route-running skills and physicality as a receiver: “He’s still a good player. Good route runner, big, physical target that can play a ball in the air. He’s still a threat.”
That executive acknowledged Hopkins’ exceptional hands and ability to make contested catches, noting his reputation as one of the best in the NFL in that regard.
A third executive, from the AFC, provided a balanced assessment of Hopkins, acknowledging his strengths and weaknesses: “Still great hands, he is not going to separate, not much of a deep threat, but very strong, and makes contested catches as well as anyone in the NFL.
Additionally, concerns were raised by the AFC exec about Hopkins commitment to practice and the potential for off-field drama when things aren’t going well: “Does not love to practice—I can’t imagine that’ll get any better. And when things don’t go well, you’re always gonna be leery, All right, what kind of drama are we gonna get from this guy? When things are great, he’s great. When things go south, his true colors show a little bit.”
He did finish on a positive note: “But he always shows up on game day. He’s gonna have to go to a team that knows what they’re getting. You cannot expect a perfect-attendance type of worker.”
It appears that some teams may be wary of his declining speed, his preferences regarding practice, and concerns about potential drama.
Nevertheless, Hopkins’ on-field performance last season demonstrated his value as a number a top receiver, as he accumulated 717 yards and three touchdowns on 64 receptions. These numbers highlight his ability to make significant contributions in a shortened season, following a PED suspension.
While questions remain about his long-term prospects, Hopkins’ proven track record as a productive and impactful player cannot be ignored.
With Hopkins now in free agency, it will be crucial for interested teams to assess his skill set, personality, and fit within their organization. Finding a team that understands his strengths and limitations will be essential in maximizing his potential impact.
Hopkins’ availability in the free-agent market presents an intriguing opportunity for teams looking to bolster their receiving corps with a proven playmaker.
The discussions among NFL executives offer insight into the varying perceptions of DeAndre Hopkins’ current abilities and the potential challenges that may come with signing him.
Ultimately, it will be up to a team willing to embrace his unique skill set and manage any potential concerns to determine whether Hopkins can continue to thrive at the highest level of professional football.