Deandre Hopkins: NFL Ready

Posted by Uptown Murf On April – 13 – 2013
"DeAndre Hopkins"

Joshua S. Kelly-US PRESSWIRE

Deandre Hopkins -WR- Clemson 6’1 – 216 lbs

Often times in sports, those who cast a big spotlight, tend to reel others into it. People who watched Clemson football in 2011 to see much heralded freshman Sammy Watkins (My #1 ranked receiver for the ’14 draft) more times than not caught a glimpse of a player just as good if not better. That player was #6, Deandre “Nuk” Hopkins. (Nicknamed after a brand of pacifiers)

Hopkins possesses some of the best footwork I’ve studied. He knows how to set up defenders with very technical routes. He’s a strong “hands” catcher, (Funny saying as if you can catch the football any other way) who can high point the ball. He has good speed that is coupled with superior short area quickness. I threw out the comparison to Atlanta Falcons great Roddy White because of the physicality in short area play. Now I’d like to add Stevie Johnson of the Buffalo Bills in regards to being a route technician while still being physical. Hopkins has a basketball background that distinguishes himself in the way that he operates, much like Stevie Johnson. Hopkins actually played swing guard for Clemson his freshman season. Part of playing hoops is being able to set your man up for future moves while displaying the same move. Hopkins is phenomenal at that.

He’s dominate on routes 15 yards and in. He has great body control, coupled with those aforementioned hands, makes him virtually unstoppable in the short area game.

He seems to have deceptive speed – especially compared to his former counterpart Sammy Watkins, but he’s a terror down-field as well. Being a superior route runner can help guys that aren’t blazers (See Rice, Jerry).

A pet-peeve of mine is when a scout puts something out to the public and it becomes etched in stone. Hopkins is painted as not being explosive because of his average timed speed (4.57 at the combine). Not true! Just this past season he had catches of; 60, 58, 58, 58 and 62. You don’t have to have 4.2 speed to be an explosive receiver, although it helps.

Knowing how to run effective routes can help facilitate explosive plays. Roddy White by all accounts is a 4.5 guy himself and he’s been one of the most explosive receivers in the game for the past six seasons. White, like Hopkins is most effective in the short game though. But both have the versatility to be a threat in all areas of the field. Let’s take a gander at the film.

Hopkins vs top NFL draft prospect Xavier Rhodes of Florida State

Hopkins vs top NFL draft prospect Xavier Rhodes of Florida State

Here Hopkins is matched up against Xavier Rhodes of FSU. FSU is playing zone due to the down and distance. They are expecting short routes that will gain them 7 yards at least.

This is a diagram of what each defensive players assignment and coverage area is.

This is a diagram of what each defensive players assignment and coverage area is.

FSU is sending a blitz to ensure a quick pass. Hopkins is running a deep post, and takes an inside angle to split the corner and safety.

Tracking the ball in the air while in full stride

Tracking the ball in the air while in full stride

Hopkins gets past the zone playing corner and gets on top of the safety in a hurry. This creates a 1 on 1 with a guy who a player who probably doesn’t have the ball skills of Hopkins. Not bad for a “Non-Explosive” player huh?



The safety is asking Jesus for help, but Jesus is eating his popcorn watching Hopkins get loose!

Nuke for 6!

Nuke for 6!

The safety falls down in a heap in what looks like the beginning of a prayer session…”Dear Lord…. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us…..”

His production was major league in his final season in “Death Valley”. A Junior, Hopkins had 82 receptions for 1405 yards with a phenomenal 18 touchdowns! He saved his best performance for last. Which happened to be against one of the best teams in college football…The LSU TIGERS!

Hopkins in man coverage vs LSU's Jalen Mills (A future star in his own right)

Hopkins in man coverage vs LSU’s Jalen Mills (A future star in his own right)

Here we see Hopkins in man coverage running an out route. Notice the move he takes to set up the corner.

Route running at it's finest!

Route running at it’s finest!

In purple is the classic pattern of the route. An out route or 5 route. In orange is the route Hopkins actually takes to get to the destination.

Sells routes like an actor. He's the Denzel Washington of route running!

Sells routes like an actor. He’s the Denzel Washington of route running!

He starts out hard at the bottom of the route, selling it like it’s a post or fly route. The corner is in his hip pocket shading him to the inside where he has help.

Hits the brakes...

Hits the brakes…

Here Hopkins stops on a dime and produces change for the cornerback. “Change” of direction!

This isn't looking good for the corner...SMH

This isn’t looking good for the corner…SMH

This looks like that crossover that Allen Iverson put on Michael Jordan. Only thing left is to make the shot.

True "Hands" catcher...

True “Hands” catcher…

If this were basketball, this finish would be the equivalent to one of those Derrick Rose two-hand dunks off of two feet. In the NFL, this is referred to as high-pointing the ball. To be a consistent great catcher of the ball, one must use his hands. A lot of receivers don’t trust their eyes and let the ball get all the way into their body before they secure the catch. This natural talent separates the good from the great. Deandre Hopkins has the physical and mental makeup to be just that.


13 catches for 191 yds and 2 TD’s in what solidified what I thought of already as a future Pro bBowler. LSU had no answer for this kid, but neither did most defenses who went up against Clemson in 2012. I strongly believe in this kids skills, and co-sign the thought of him being a difference maker on the next level.

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  • Bex_R1986

    My favourite receiver in this years draft. Most have Austin and Patterson ahead of him, with upside/potential included as one of the factors in that. But I don’t think people say enough about the upside of Hopkins! It almost feels when you read/hear people talking about him, it’s with the thinking that he’s good, but a relatively lower ceiling guy who’ll be a solid pro and number 2 WR. I think he has tons of upside to go with his explosiveness, footwork, route running, hands and could be a star. Like you, I see a future pro bowler.

    • Uptown Murf

      Hey man ppl need to study film. I love Patterson – but he has one season of production and a lot of questions as well. He just looks the part of a Julio Jones or AJ Green. People want explosive and don’t think of Hopkins as that..Sad that they will learn the hard way. But good observation my man…

  • Paul

    I only needed to see the bowl game to know Hopkins is the best wideout in the draft. Then when I saw his measureables at the combine, it was sealed. This guy is an absolute beast. I honestly cannot believe that he is not being talked about as a possible number 1 overall, the Chiefs WR position is much worse off than LT – even if they were planning to roll with Donald Stephenson and Jeff Allen at the tackles that would still be better than what they have at receiver – which is the over-rated Dwayne Bowe and squat.

    • Uptown Murf

      lol woah bro. I like Hopkins as much as you – but he’s not a #1 overall pick. I’m not so sure any receiver in the NFL is worth a #1 overall pick. Maybe Megatron – but even he with his close to 2k yards were only worth a handful of wins. It’s not a super impact position like QB or DE. I do believe he should warrant talk as being the first receiver off the board but ppl are in love with measurables at this time of the year. He’ll just go on his merry way and become the next Roddy White or Stevie Johnson..

  • football guru

    that is why i think he will be considered for the 14th pick. panthers have worked him out, and brought him into charlotte for another workout. another guy i like to compare him to is Hakeem Nicks, who Gettleman knew from his days with the Giants.

    • Uptown Murf

      Yeah I can see the Nicks comparison a lil. Nicks is more physical though. Hopkins is more of a technician.both have great ball-skills. I’m not so sure your Panthers should take him at 14 as they may be able to get him in the 2nd round. The Panthers are interesting – they have Gettis and Lafell that they are high on. They need help at corner and safety imo…If Hopkins were to go there – it would be sick. Learning from Steve Smith?!?! Crazy!!

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