Clemson WR DeAndre Hopkins Scouting Report

Photo Coursesy: OrangeAndWhite.com

Photo Coursesy: OrangeAndWhite.com

Clemson wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins is one of the most electrifying wide receivers in the 2013 NFL Draft. In his 32 starts with the Tigers, Hopkins hauled in 206 passes for 3,020 yards and found the endzone 27 times. While he’s overshadowed by the likes of receivers such as Tennessee’s Cordarrelle Patterson or California’s Keenan Allen, Hopkins has the potential to become the top receiver out of the class.

Strengths

Hopkins has prototypical size for the receiver position at 6’1” 205 pounds and has a compact frame. He tracks the ball well in the air and does an excellent job evading defenders. He creates separation with ease and has solid ball skills.

Weaknesses

Far too often, Hopkins uses false steps out of the snap with hopes of shaking cornerbacks. He struggles to get off press coverage and can get jammed at the line of scrimmage. At times, he’s prone to drops due to trying to run before fully securing the ball. Most of Hopkins’ visual weaknesses should be coachable at the next level.

Release

If there’s one negative about Hopkins’ game, it’s his release off the snap. Instead of flying off the line of scrimmage, he often stutter-steps, trying to cause defenders to get out of position. This won’t work in the NFL, and it gets him thrown off his route more often than not. Hopkins doesn’t use his hands well to create separation off the snap either, but uses his body well to gain immediate inside or outside leverage on defenders.

Route-Running

Hopkins doesn’t run the most precise routes, but he gets where he needs to be. He’s not going to stop on a dime and make a perfect cut, but he’s natural and fluid with his movement in the open field. At his best outside the numbers, Hopkins often slows up when going over the middle, almost as if he’s bracing for impact.

Hands

Due to Hopkins’ tendency to brace for impact, he drops quite a few passes due to a lack of focus. It appears that he readies himself for a hit or tries to run before catching passes. When he’s on the outside against smaller defenders, Hopkins is much more confident and his drops decrease.

Ball Skills

DeAndre Hopkins tracks and locates the ball in the air better than any receiver in the 2013 draft class. He positions his body so well against defenders, and makes it tough to compete with him for jump balls. He high-points the ball in the air, and almost always comes down with it. This is the most impressive trait of Hopkins’ game.

Run After Catch

Hopkins nearly always makes the first defender miss when he has the ball in his hands. At times he does too much east-to-west running, but he has the speed and agility to create yards after the catch. This ability was maximized with short, quick passes that allowed him to juke defenders and gain substantial yards throughout his career at Clemson.

Blocking

While not always the most effective blocker, Hopkins is always willing to put himself out against a defender in the run game. This is a promising trait to his game, because far too often, “finesse” receivers won’t take part in blocking. Hopkins definitely needs to work on his technique in this finer aspect of the game, but the fact that he always makes a full attempt is encouraging.

Scheme Versatility

Hopkins is a receiver that can fit nearly all schemes, but would be best suited in a quick-passing offense, where his ability to create yards after the catch would be maximized. Hopkins flows naturally with the ball in his hands and creates separation with ease. Putting him in a west coast offense might be the most beneficial to him through the early stages in his career. Hopkins can be a true No. 1 receiving threat with a bit of work, but he’s a fit for most schemes.

Potential Team Fits

1.21 Cincinnati Bengals

1.22 St. Louis Rams

1.23 Minnesota Vikings

1.27 Houston Texans

1.29 New England Patriots

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