The Houston Texans, or, more accurately, coach slash general manager Bill O’Brien, traded, arguably, the best wide receiver in the league to the Arizona Cardinals for a noticeably washed up David Johnson on Monday. The trade will likely go down in history as one of the worst trades ever, but besides the loss of a transcendent player, quarterback DeShaun Watson has lost his bread winner. As you can see below, Hopkins is more than your every day top receiver, he’s been the Texans passing offense.
How much of Watson's production went to DeAndre Hopkins?— Dave Richard (@daverichard) March 19, 2020
2019: 30.3% targets, 31.2% of rec, 30.2% of yds, 26.9% of TDs
2018: 32.3% targets, 33.3% of rec, 37.7% of yds, 42.3% of TDs
2017: 34.8% targets, 34.9% of rec, 35.3% of yds, 36.8% of TDs
Hopkins doesn’t just get the bulk of the targets, he also turns those targets into true production on a consistent basis. His numbers flesh this out, as he’s been Top-3 or better in all the major production stats like receptions, yards and touchdowns over the course of his seven-year career.
The question is, will Watson, who is no doubt a top talent at his position, be able to find a way to replace Nuk’s production? Will Fuller and Kenny Stills are good players, and Randall Cobb can be useful, but Hopkins’ presence made them better and Fuller cannot seem to stay healthy.
Watson will pick up some production with his rushing, but he already was a more than competent producer on the ground. Unless the Texans land another strong receiver before Week 1, Watson’s production will assuredly take a hit.