Many pundits felt that the Arizona Cardinals were the beneficiaries of the trade with the Houston Texans that sent wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins to the desert in exchange for running back David Johnson. How lopsided was it, really?
Well, for Arizona’s part, the franchise gets a bonafide superstar who has been elected to four Pro Bowls and has been elected as a first-team All-Pro in each of the last three seasons. Quite a resume’ for a player who joined the league in 2013.
Since that time, Hopkins has amassed career totals of 8,602 yards on 632 receptions (13.6 per catch) and 54 touchdowns on 1,048 targets. Add in the fact that he had a revolving door at quarterback in Houston and the numbers are even more impressive.
As Cardinals second-year quarterback Kyler Murray — last season’s Offensive Rookie of the Year — continues to settle into his role as a leader, he adds to his receiving arsenal of Larry Fitzgerald and Christian Kirk with a player of Hopkins’ caliber. It presents a seemingly lethal opportunity.
In fact, Hopkins is the most reliable wideout target in the entire NFL. That is, if you base that on statistics that measure most consecutive catches without a drop. If that is the case, Hopkins assuredly meets the criteria, as he leads the category among active receivers since 2006 with 225 straight receptions without dropping a single one.
Following in Hopkins’ shadow are Houston Texans receiver Randall Cobb (121), New Orleans Saints wideout Michael Thomas (116) and Seattle Seahawks pass-catcher Tyler Lockett (111).
This comes after Hopkins was deemed the No. 4 most targeted receiver in the league across all routes run. He ran a total of 584 routes and was targeted 146 times — exactly a 25 percent target rate, according to Pro Football Focus.
The three receivers listed ahead of him in that category are Thomas (599 routes run, 180 targets, 30.1 percent target rate); Green Bay Packers’ Davante Adams (427 routes run, 124 targets, 29 percent target rate); and Atlanta Falcons’ Julio Jones (572 routes run, 149 targets, 26 percent target rate).
When lined up in slot situations, however, Hopkins was even more dominant. He was the second-highest targeted player in the NFL in those moments, behind only Thomas. On 211 routes run in the slot, Hopkins was targeted 57 times, a 27 percent target rate.
Murray and Hopkins got in their first live throwing session of the offseason in Dallas, Tex., last week where Murray invited around 20 offensive players to conduct private workouts.
Safe to say, when Murray throws Hopkins the ball in 2020, he can be confident in its success rate if it comes anywhere near his catch radius.