NumberFire's Jason Schandl has an interesting article up about DeAndre Hopkins in which he analyzes Nuk's past production, possible reasons for same, and then takes a look at what fans should expect from Hopkins this year. That last part is likely what you're most excited about, and Schandl says you have good reason to be.
In March, our own Joe Juan went in-depth with an excellent look at when elite wide receivers typically hit their primes. Joe found that typically the cream of the crop hit their peaks in their third season and at 26 years of age. Hopkins is entering his third season and only turns 23 in June. In terms of development as a player, we can expect Hopkins to again make big strides. With Andre Johnson out of town, let's look at how Hopkins' role could shape up next year.
One area of intrigue is Hopkins' touchdown potential. In 2014 no receiver accounted for as high a percentage of his teams' red zone targets as Andre Johnson did with 37%. These targets and his red zone ability are a big part of why Jaelen Strong is going to be very valuable in Houston, but Hopkins also stands to benefit.
Over his first two seasons, Hopkins' red zone efficiency has left a lot to be desired. On 23 career red zone targets, he's converted only three touchdowns. J.J. Watt has done that on three targets. If Hopkins can improve his efficiency there even a little bit, that combined with added opportunities will give him the potential to improve on his touchdown total once again.
It remains to be seen whether Hopkins will become the red zone focus that Andre Johnson statistically was for the Texans last year, but it stands to reason that Nuk should see a significant increase in targets inside the opponent's 20 yard line this season. Are you bullish on DeAndre Hopkins as a WR1 in Bill O'Brien's offense with Ryan Mallett or Brian Hoyer under center?