New Texans WR Wows
DeAndre Hopkins appears to have missed the football. It's whizzing by him on the wrong side.
Only Hopkins looks back at the last instant, notices it and reaches out to snare the speeding pigskin with one hand. It's a stunningly quick adjustment and an even better catch — and Hopkins somehow almost manages to make it seem nonchalant.
"Oh man, that's just kind of instinct," Hopkins says later. "I couldn't get my other hand on it, so I just kind of put one hand up there."
On what's essentially the first day of the push toward the New York Super Bowl, Hopkins stands out as the best player on the field.
The Houston Texans' first round draft pick figures that if he gets his hands — or in this case, his hand — on the football, he's going to make the catch. That may not have always been the case in his first rookie mini camp practice with the Texans Friday, but Hopkins certainly stood out as a catch of the NFL Draft thanks to several big-time grabs — and a friendly stare down with fellow rookie D.J. Swearinger, the ultra confident, yet interview polite safety from South Carolina.
Besides the one-handed snare, Hopkins also goes up with undrafted rookie cornerback A.J. Bouye for a deep ball over the middle and comes down with it despite some bumping.
Hopkins doesn't catch every single ball — he'd lament a slant he dropped and talk about making plenty of "mistakes." But on what's essentially the first day of the Texans push toward the New York Super Bowl, the rookie they're depending on to deliver immediately stands out as the best player on the field.
No matter where you are inside the Texans' practice bubble at the Methodist Training Center, your eyes keep getting drawn back to No. 10 in the white jersey.
"He's fun to throw to," former University of Houston quarterback Case Keenum tells CultureMap. Keenum and Collin Klein — the brief Heisman Trophy favorite from Kansas State — do the throwing on this day. This five-practice, three-day camp is for rookies and first-year players like Keenum and tight end Phillip Supernaw who've had little NFL experience.
But that doesn't mean Hopkins isn't being kept track of by the vets. Andre Johnson, Matt Schaub and J.J. Watt all texted the new wide receiver, urging Hopkins to go after it in this rookie camp.
So far, he's clearly taken that advice. Texans coach Gary Kubiak leaves the first practice lauding the 20-year-old Hopkins' competitiveness. And Swearinger gets that stare down.
"We've already got a little rivalry going on," Hopkins laughs about going up against Swearinger. "It's fun."
And, it's a heck of an early start.