Consistently gets separation
Sudden out of his breaks
Beats defensive backs for contested catches
Can work as a possession receiver
Has some strength
Makes plays downfield
Good body control to make tough sideline catches
Adept at finding soft spots in zone
Effective operating in all levels of the defense
Capable of producing splash plays
Good yards after the catch
Improved each year
A little short
Lacks elite, burner speed
Will have an occasional drop
Over the past couple of seasons, Clemson has featured one of the most high-powered offenses in college football. Quarterback Tajh Boyd has produced some big point totals and Hopkins was one of his best weapons.
Hopkins made a quick impact for the Tigers. He hauled in 52 passes for 637 yards with four scores as a freshman in 2010. Hopkins was a secondary receiver to Sammy Watkins in 2011, but Hopkins still caught 72 passes for 978 yards and five touchdowns. The Clemson offense spread the ball around to a variety of play-makers like tight end Dwayne Allen and running back Andre Ellington.
Hopkins became the Tigers' No. 1 receiver in 2012 as Watkins started the year suspended and was slow to return to his freshman form. Hopkins picked up the slack and became the top receiver for Boyd. Hopkins started out the season with big outing against Auburn (13-119-1) and produced big numbers on a weekly basis. Some of his good outings include Florida State, Boston College, Georgia Tech and Duke.
Hopkins and Boyd came up huge in Clemson' bowl game to pull out a last minute win over LSU. Against a good Tigers secondary, Hopkins reeled in 13 receptions for 191 yards and two scores. One of his receptions was phenomenal grab on a fourth-and-long during the game-winning drive. Hopkins totaled 1,405 yards on 82 catches and 18 touchdowns for the year. He scored touchdowns in 12-of-13 games. The only contest in which Hopkins didn't score was against Furman in Week 2 when he had 95 yards on seven receptions.
As a receiver, Hopkins is extremely well-rounded. He plays taller than his listed measurement and competes for the ball. His best traits are his route-running and quickness. Hopkins is able to consistently generate separation from defensive backs. He is phenomenal working in the intermediate part of the field to make catches that move the chains. Hopkins does extremely well running deep outs and other sideline catches.
Hopkins isn't a burner receiver, but he has enough speed to make plays downfield. If defenses don't pay proper attention to Hopkins, he'll beat them for long touchdowns.
Hopkins could fit in the NFL on either a West Coast offense or a pro style offense. He has enough size to operate in the short part of the field with the speed to run routes downfield. Hopkins looks like he will be able to start quickly in his career. Hopkins could go late in the first round and shouldn't last long if he falls to the second.
Player Comparison: Greg Jennings.
Hopkins game reminds me of Jennings. Both are excellent route-runners with the speed to produce some big plays. They are generally sure-handed and operate well in all levels of the field. Jennings (5-11, 198) is a couple of inches shorter, but both play bigger than their listed sizes. The Packers took Jennings in the second round of the 2006 NFL Draft. He has had a good pro career, and it wouldn't be surprising if Hopkins turns into a receiver of Jennings' caliber.
Minnesota, Houston, Detroit, New England, New York Jets, Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins
There are a lot of teams that Hopkins could land with late in the first round and early in the second round. The Vikings need more help at wide receiver after replacing Percy Harvin with Jennings. Minnesota could consider Hopkins in the first round.
The Texans need help at receiver with Andre Johnson aging. Kevin Walter was let go, and Houston could use a downfield weapon for Matt Schaub. Hopkins is in play for the Texans first-round pick.
Detroit needs help at wide receiver despite having Calvin Johnson. Titus Young was cut and Ryan Broyles is coming off another knee injury. The Lions need a good complement for Johnson.
Hopkins could land in the AFC East. New England could select Hopkins late in the first round. The Patriots need more long-term targets on the outside for Tom Brady. The Jets need to improve their wide receivers and could target a play-maker like Hopkins early in the second round.
Buffalo needs to improve its receiving corps. If the Bills pass on a receiver in the first round, Hopkins could be selected by them in Round 2. Miami has signed three veterans, but the team could consider adding more talent at wide out.
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