DeAndre Hopkins Says He's Underrated Among Top NFL WRs

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJuly 27, 2018

Houston Texans receiver DeAndre Hopkins is introduced prior to an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)
Eric Christian Smith/Associated Press

Houston Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins believes he deserves more recognition as one of the NFL's elite wideouts. 

According to ESPN.com's Sarah Barshop, Hopkins said the following Friday: "I definitely feel like I'm underrated. I think I'm the best receiver in the NFL. Having guys ranked in front of me that I know that I'm better than, that's always going to drive me."

The 26-year-old was named to the Pro Bowl for the second time in his career last season, and he was also given an All-Pro first-team nod for the first time.

Hopkins enjoyed one of the most productive seasons of his career in 2017 with 96 receptions for 1,378 yards and 13 touchdowns.

Among all NFL players, he ranked sixth in catches, fourth in receiving yards and first in receiving touchdowns.

It can be argued that Hopkins was even better in 2015 when he exploded for 111 receptions, 1,521 yards and 11 scores.

A significant drop-off in production the following campaign may have contributed to Hopkins' perceived slight.

His 78 grabs for 954 yards and four touchdowns in 2016 marked the worst statistical output of his career aside from his rookie year in 2016.

Much of Hopkins' downturn was likely due to the fact that he never clicked with quarterback Brock Osweiler.

Hopkins had a great connection with rookie signal-caller Deshaun Watson in seven games last season before Watson went down with an injury, however.

Per Barshop, Hopkins has big expectations for himself and Watson over the course of an entire season: "I expect us to be the best duo in the NFL, honestly. That's my goal. I'm pretty sure that's his goal. If we have those goals for ourselves, that's going to help the team get to where we want to get to. But expectations, the sky is limit what that kid can do."

In 2018, Hopkins will look to firmly establish himself as a mainstay among the NFL's top-flight wide receivers, such as Antonio Brown of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Julio Jones of the Atlanta Falcons and Odell Beckham Jr. of the New York Giants.