The Houston Texans traded DeAndre Hopkins this offseason. Remember that? Despite this, most have come around to this idea of speed killing, and some now believe that the Texans will be better off without Hopkins because, I guess, Deshaun Watson won’t simply throw the ball to one of the three best wide receivers in the game who converts first down after first down. Plus, you know who’s also a really good vertical wide receiver? DeAndre Hopkins is.
Someone is going to be wrong this season—those pure-hearted optimists or those cold, snarled haters of everything Houston Texans. Put Bill Barnwell in the category of the latter. He has the Texans’ skill position group ranked 27th in the NFL entering the 2020 season after the team subtracted Hopkins for David Johnson, Brandin Cooks, and Randall Cobb.
This is what Barnwell had to say:
27. Houston Texans
Replacing DeAndre Hopkins with Brandin Cooks and Randall Cobb will do that. The Texans are deep at wide receiver with those two joining Will Fuller V and Kenny Stills, but Fuller and Cooks have major injury concerns, while Cobb’s bounce-back season in Dallas still included six drops on 84 targets. Houston was able to coax seven touchdowns on 34 targets out of tight end Darren Fells, but the 33-year-old has never shown that sort of red zone ability in years past, and history suggests that sort of touchdown rate has almost always proved to be a one-year fluke. Jordan Akins, a third-round pick in 2018, hasn’t been able to consistently cash in on his athleticism, leaving this tight end room as one of the league’s least inspiring.
The big name to look out for is the guy the Texans got in the Hopkins trade, but David Johnson is now three full seasons removed from his star turn in 2016 without a repeat performance. He has alternately been injured and ineffective over the past three seasons, and while I still harbor some hopes of a bounce-back, he wasn’t even all that efficient of a runner during that 2016 season. The former Cardinals star is still a plus receiver, but you could also say that about Duke Johnson, which will make for a weird platoon. The Texans are deeper than most of the teams toward the bottom of this list, but there’s nobody you can count on to stay healthy and play well for 16 games.
What do you think of Barnwell’s ranking? Too low? Too high?