by Jared Roberts
As many fans of From the Upper Deck know, I’m a huge Houston Texans fan. I’ve been a fan since my high school career took off in 2012, in big part due to J.J. Watt. He’s a superstar in the NFL, and most teams would gladly accept a player of that stature on their squad.
The Texans were okay at the start of his career, making the playoffs and piggybacking off the last couple of years of the mediocre “big 3:” Matt Schaub, Arian Foster, and Andre Johnson. Schaub was never seen as the franchise player for Houston, and nearing 2012, they didn’t see him in their future. Andre Johnson was slowing down and deteriorating as a top tier receiver, and Foster had battled many injuries late in his career and would be out of the NFL by age 30. For the Texans offense, an immense rebuild was necessary. With Watt nearing the prime of his career, this wasn’t good for the organization.
So, the Texans took to the draft. They struck out too many times to count on drafting a franchise QB. However, early on in the rebuild in Houston, a wide receiver from Clemson University was drafted in 2013. His name? DeAndre Hopkins. Now one of the most widely acclaimed players in the NFL, Hopkins gave Houston hope. Hopes of winning games. Hopes of the playoffs. Hopes of the Super Bowl.
Hopkins played well with the big 3 in his first year. His next few seasons, however, he would be challenged with an onslaught of quarterbacks. Multiple starters would be named for Houston, and they would struggle to make it through the first round of the playoffs. Even though this posed a challenge to Hopkins, he never let up.
DeAndre Hopkins would end up tallying the 3rd most career reception yards behind only Randy Moss and Larry Fitzgerald with 8600 yards. This led to 4 Pro Bowl and 3 First Team All-Pro selections. His career was off to a fantastic start.
Then, Houston decided that they’d had enough of him, and he was traded. It was speculated that Hopkins was traded due to his relationship with Bill O’Brien, the Head Coach and General Manager of the Texans. I still am having trouble coming to terms with trading away one of football’s novelties. I don’t understand it, but I also don’t necessarily need to. Right now, the Texans have a franchise QB and just restocked their draft picks. I can’t thank Hopkins enough for the hope, drive, and enthusiasm he used to better the team. Hopkins is one of the greatest players I have ever had the honor to root for. Thank you, Nuk!