The DeAndre Hopkins Effect:
DeAndre Hopkins is more than just an elite wide receiver. He was more than just the Texans’ best offensive player, and he was definitely worth more to Houston than what they got in return for trading him (former Cardinals’ running back David Johnson and a second-round pick being the haul for a back to back to back All-Pro receiver).
DeAndre Hopkins was a cheat code in the Houston offense. The motor behind a great passing game that drove the entire offense to heights they wouldn’t be able to reach without him. Because Hopkins does more than just command heavy volume and come down with 50/50 balls– he changes the way defenses approach the game when he’s on the field.
You can see exactly what Hopkins brought to the Texans’ passing attack in their first game against the Titans in 2019, back in Week 15. Tennessee, just to keep Hopkins contained, often needed multiple defenders in his area, leaving other receivers and other parts of the field vulnerable and open for a talented quarterback like Watson to attack. The second the Titans switched their gameplan to dedicate only one defender in man coverage to Hopkins– the receiver used his other-worldly talent to take over.
That kind of effect that Hopkins had on his offense is not isolated to the Titans, that’s just how good he is. The Texans’ passing approaching became simple. Teams would either have to sellout to cover Hopkins, leaving other guys open. Or, they would defend Hopkins like he were any other receiver and let him burn you with his unmatched skill. But now, the man making hell for opposing defenses is out of Houston. The man that made Will Fuller such a vital part of the Texans’ offense by commanding so much attention himself is now in Arizona– and the Titans can finally take advantage.