Deandre Hopkins – Wide receiver
Height: 6’1 | Weight: 200 pounds | Clemson | Junior
Strengths: Hopkins has very good foot quickness which allows him to get off the ball quickly and into his routes. He can close the cushion on the cornerback fast. He is a legitimate deep threat who has the burst to get separation from the cornerback on the deep routes. He has very good hands to pluck the ball from the air and can consistently catch any pass thrown in his area. His hand-eye coordination is very good as he has shown the ability to track the ball over either shoulder on deep routes and then make the catch cleanly. His very good athleticism, agility, and playing strength along with his foot quickness allow him to get a clean release against the cornerback jams most of the time. He accelerates to full speed fast and is very elusive after the catch making defenders miss in the open field. He does a fine job running routes and usually finds the open area against zone coverage.
Weaknesses: When Hopkins does not use his hands well he struggles to get a clean release against the cornerback’s jam sometimes and causes him to get into his route late. He loses some explosiveness when he does not play aggressive, but still has the quickness off the ball. He has some room for improvement recognizing different defensive coverages along with fine tuning his overall route running. He will let ball get into his body sometimes resulting in dropped balls.
Final Thoughts: Hopkins is a terrific athlete who has improved his production each year since going to Clemson. He increased his touchdown catch total from his sophomore season of 5 td catches to 18 td catches (ACC record) his junior year in 2012 as he became more comfortable in the system and a focal point of the offense. He set a school record of 1,405 yards receiving in 2012 and earned first team All-ACC honors. He has the ability to make big plays which labels him as a playmaker in my book. He may not have elite speed, but he has the playing speed and foot quickness to consistently get separation. Overall, Hopkins can make an immediate impact for a team who has a veteran in place or a good position coach to help him transition well to the NFL. Teams like the Carolina Panthers, Minnesota Vikings, and the Miami Dolphins with their systems would fit his skill set. He should be a late 1st to early 2nd round selection in the 2013 NFL Draft come April.