Deandre “Nuk” Hopkins Fantasy Football
Deandre Hopkins name should be called early at the NFL draft. Since arriving on the campus in Clemson, South Carolina, Hopkins has been putting together a highlight reel of how to play the wide receiver position. Although the last two seasons at Clemson have been productive for Hopkins, he has been playing in the wide receiver shadow of Sammy Watkins. Deandre Hopkins had a solid junior season finishing with 52 catches, 978 yards receiving, and 5 touchdowns, but did not stand out due to his phenomenal freshman counterpart. It was his 2012 seas0n that had the scouts talking about Hopkins ability to be a major contributor on Sundays. Hopkins finished his junior campaign with 82 catches, an ACC-best 1405 receiving yards, and 18 touchdowns (2nd in nation for wide receivers behind only Stedman Bailey with 25).
You would think with a nickname like Nuke it would have something to do with his explosiveness on the field, but “Nuk” comes from a nickname given to him by his parents when he was younger. Nuk was the only pacifier brand that Deandre could not chew threw as an infant. Strong as a child and also strong on the playing field, Hopkins had a stellar career at Clemson. He heads into the NFL draft with the Clemson career records in receiving yards (3,020), 100 yard games (12), and career touchdowns (27).
After watching Deandre Hopkins the one thing that stands out to me the most on tape is his ability to create space with his route running and double moves. His ability to manipulate defenders in his routes and position himself to make play is better than most wideouts in the 2013 draft class. Hopkins also attacks the ball very well in the air making the catch at its highest point while maintaining balance and body position. Deandre Hopkins has great short area burst and has terrific stop-and-go acceleration that allows him to beat defenders with relative ease. Hopkins also knows how to find the soft spot in the zone and use it to gain yardage after the catch with his strength. Hopkins also has terrific hands and is fearless over the middle. Hopkins ability to be used on the outside or playing the slot gives teams flexibility to use him in a variety of ways.
Does not have imposing size or speed to beat defenders in the air or on the ground with his jumping ability to strait line speed. Deandre Hopkins has mental lapses from time to time that results in drops when he is looking to go upfield rather than secure the pass. There were times on tape when Hopkins dances on tape and loses yards rather than getting vertical after the catch to get the yards he is able to. His lack of size may make him a liability in the running game. He needs to learn to beat the press more consistently. Based on recent news there may be some potential character considerations following what was found to be a “trashed” hotel room at the NFL combine. It was Hopkins room but there is no certainly that he was the primary culprit in this case. Although it does not change the kind of player he is on the field, some teams may reconsider taking him early in the draft.
Hopkins has all the makings of a standout second wide receiver. His style and approach to the game is similar to that of Reggie Wayne. Using great route running, manipulation of a defense, and use of his body to make plays. He will not blow you away with his speed, but makes up for it in his competitiveness, hands, and stop-and-go acceleration.
Hopkins has all the makings of a first round wide receiver. Currently he is considered by many teams to be one of the top three wide receivers in the 2012 draft, behind Tennessee’s Cordarrelle Patterson and West Virginia’s Tavon Austin. I see Hopkins going to the Minnesota Vikings at 25 or the Houston Texans at 27. If Patterson and Austin are off the board when Minnesota picks then I fully expect them to take Hopkins. If Hopkins gets passed by the Vikings then I look for him to being playing opposite Andre Johnson in 2013.