Today's film study covers Clemson wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, who is widely regarded as a first-round prospect and one of the most complete receivers in this year's NFL Draft. Hopkins may be available when the Green Bay Packers are on the clock with the 26th selection, and might be a good fit for their offense.
Hopkins is a very precise route runner who is a deep threat with great in game speed, showing the ability to run the entire route tree. Hopkins is very effective at getting off jams, using quick footwork to avoid the brunt of the punch from the defensive back and quickly moving up field. Hopkins has a fantastic double move that forces the defender to bite on the underneath route and then has the ability to turn on the burners to gain separation for big gains. Hopkins is very good at manipulating defensive backs on with his route running, using tricks like a slight outward fade in the initial phase of a post, forcing the safety to flip their hips outside, and then sharply cutting in to create separation.
Hopkins is very good on out routes and comebacks, showing the ability to stop on a dime. On plays near the sideline, Hopkins shows great body control and flexibility to stay inbounds when ball placement isn’t ideal. Hopkins does struggle a bit with jump balls, often getting out muscled or not timing his jump to get the ball at the top of his catch radius, and he struggles with corner routes in the end zone at times. Hopkins is very good at settling in, or slowing his route around holes in zone coverage and is particularly effective on slants from both the slot and outside. On routes down the sideline, Hopkins is very good at creating separation from the defender with his arm without fully extending and drawing a penalty. Hopkins is very good at locating and tracking the ball as it comes over top of him as well. In all instances, Hopkins shows the ability to receive the ball in stride to maximize gains.
Hopkins has the occasional bout of the dropsies, particularly when the ball is tipped, suggesting that his concentration isn’t top notch. Hopkins also had instances where the ball hit him in the hands and he simply failed to haul it in. He also seems to catch the ball a little closer to his body then he should. This isn’t to say Hopkins can’t catch, he can, but there’s certainly some room for improvement.
After the Catch
Hopkins shows good after the catch ability, using quick feet and shifty hips to freeze would-be tacklers and create bad pursuit angles for defenders. When defenders actually got their hands on Hopkins, he didn’t prove particularly hard to drag down, breaking few tackles, though he did occasionally display a decent stiff arm to maintain distance and eat up more yards.
In addition proved to be a pretty good run blocker, latching onto defensive backs, extending out and driving all while mirroring the defender’s movements and not allowing them to shed him.
Overall, I see Hopkins as a late first round pick. Though Hopkins doesn’t have the freakish size or athletic abilities of the Calvin Johnsons and Julio Jonses of the world, but he displays a combination of great game speed, quickness, precise and deceptive route running and good after the catch ability to be a dangerous all-around receiver. Hopkins even proved a willing and able run blocker. Does that sound like a recently departed former Packers receiver to anyone? I would give Hopkins an even higher rating if his focus and hands were just a bit better.
Though I personally believe that the defensive line is probably the biggest need on this team, and before watching Hopkins would have balked at the thought of taking a receiver in the first round, I wouldn’t be at all upset to see Hopkins selected at pick 26. He is a dangerous weapon that could be lined up anywhere and he would help the Packers’ receiving corps maintain its reputation as one of the most talented in the league.
Other prospect film breakdowns: S Matt Elam | DE Datone Jones | DT Jesse Williams, Alabama | DT Johnathan Hankins, Ohio State | DT Brandon Williams, Missouri Southern | C Travis Frederick, Wisconsin | C Brian Schwenke, California