DRAFT TALK: WR DeAndre “Nuk” Hopkins a Potential Round 2 Pick

DeAndre Nuk Hopkins

As the draft quickly approaches many fans are wondering whom the Ravens are targeting with their first round pick. While I have my thoughts on that, I am more interested in who they are going to be targeting after that first pick. I’m sure that Tandon Doss is going to be given every opportunity to win that #2/#3 receiver position in the rotation (assuming Torrey and Jacoby are the top two on the depth chart). However, I think there should absolutely be competition. DeAndre Hopkins is a player who many may have heard of, yet few know very much about the Clemson wide out.

 

Size: 6’1″ 215lbs

Year: Junior

2012 Stats: 82 receptions, 1405 yards, 18 TD’s

Media pundits will try to classify Hopkins as a good slot option and while I do agree to a certain extent, I actually think he is best suited for the X or Z receiver spot. When I watch him work the middle of the field I see a guy who keeps his head on a swivel (which is good), but he sometimes loses focus of where the ball is (which is bad).

Ultimately, he is pretty consistent over the middle, but I have seen some instances where he seems to be worried about getting hit or where he’s going to run rather than just making the catch. If the Ravens draft him, he’ll need work in this area because when he does focus solely on making the catch, he is money and can make acrobatic grabs with the best of them.

Granted, the QB play from Tahj Boyd didn’t help his cause as Boyd is an excellent downfield passer, but his accuracy seems to drop when he has to throw “touch” passes rather than a rocket, but I digress.

When Hopkins lines up at the X or Z position, he works the sidelines VERY well – his strongest quality as a WR. He does a great job with double-moves and he can stop on a dime when running comeback routes. He also adjusts nicely to passes in the air and he wins a lot of contested receptions as well. Against Florida State, Xavier Rhodes (a 6’2″ 210lb corner who is likely a top 15 pick this year) covered him for almost the entire game and Hopkins did a great job beating press coverage from Rhodes and keeping Rhodes off-balance. Another thing that I really like about Hopkins is he already knows how to set up corners for back-shoulder passes, which Flacco likes to throw.

He isn’t the biggest or the fastest guy on the field, but he has nice acceleration (clocked a 4.41 at Clemson’s Pro-Day). His frame is tight and muscular with long arms (34″) and big hands (10″). If you watch him play the thing you’ll notice is how he makes the catch, plants his foot, and then accelerates quickly to pick up nice yards after the catch (YAC).  Much like Anquan Boldin, Hopkins rarely goes down on first contact and oftentimes he is still fighting for that extra yard as he is being brought down. When watching him you will also be able to see that he does – contrary to popular opinion – have enough speed to get vertical and score TD’s over the top. He won’t outrun many elite-speed corners, but his route running ability gives him enough separation to make plays down the field. Like I said earlier: wicked double move.

Ultimately, I don’t think he is a 1st round receiver and with guys like Cordarelle Patterson, Justin Hunter, Tavon Austin, and Keenan Allen getting most of the “WR buzz” I think Hopkins will drop into the 2nd round for sure. If he is someone the Ravens are targeting, then I think it would be wise to trade down from pick 32, pick up extra picks in the mid rounds, and target Hopkins somewhere in the top 20 picks of round 2. OR they could use their 1st round on someone completely different and move up in round 2 for Hopkins. I don’t know that he’ll last all the way to pick 64.

Current NFL Player that Hopkins reminds me of the most: James Jones with some route running elements of Reggie Wayne.

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18 Raves on “DRAFT TALK: WR DeAndre “Nuk” Hopkins a Potential Round 2 Pick

  1. Josh on said:

    I think if we stay at 32, then we take a wideout or a safety. I don’t see a LT or DT worthy of a selection that late in the first.

    • John on said:

      We very well could target a receiver. I wouldn’t be ecstatic if they drafted Hopkins at pick 32, because similar to Upshaw last year, I think he’ll be available in round 2. That said, I think the Ravens could do a lot worse with their 32nd pick.

    • Paul Lukoskie on said:

      He could. Hunter, Allen, and Patterson are all faster and bigger than Hopkins. Austin may be smaller, but that guy is an insane athlete and has a ton of buzz around him right now. I think those things combined with this being a defensive-heavy draft could push guys like Hopkins down into the 2nd round.

  2. Sean on said:

    How sweet would it be to get Arthur Brown rd1 then trade up to ensure Hopkins as our rd2? The LT out of Wisconsin in the 4th or 5th would seal the deal. Hopkins is the closest we will get to replacing Boldin and I think he may end up being a major steal in the draft

    • Paul Lukoskie on said:

      That would certainly be sweet.

      It could very well happen too. Brown is a solid player.

      I’m still not entirely convinced that any inside linebacker prospects will go in round 1 though.

  3. Connor (leachisabeast) on said:

    I would literally jump out of my seat if we got Hopkins in the 2nd, we may need to trade up a few spots to secure him. Good stuff as usual Paul.

  4. Al on said:

    Great analysis. I would also love to see us land Hopkins. He sounds like money in so many ways (great sideline work, double moves, accleration). I think he has more than enough speed. He’d really open up the offense even more. Don’t think we’ll have to trade up. But I bet Ravens will be wheelers and dealers.

    • Paul Lukoskie on said:

      Torrey, Hopkins, and Jacoby would be a REALLY nice trio of receivers. Mix in Doss and (hopefully) Deonte Thompson/Tommy Streeter and you have a pretty nice receiver unit that is fast, has good size, and young.

      Ravens need to continuously provide weapons for Flacco. In my opinion, every team (not just the Ravens) should draft at least 1 receiver every draft. They are so hard to scout and far too often guys rely on their physical attributes to dominate in college (Mike Williams, Dwayne Jarrett, Charles Rodgers, etc). So, when they get to the NFL and they actually have to run routes and develop the intricacies that separate average receivers from great receivers, they flop.

  5. True on said:

    It says on Baltimoreravens.com that the Ravens are highly interested in WR Aaron Mellette. He has the same body type, or close to it, as Boldin and he acts like Boldin himself when he plays. I like Da’Rick Rogers though. He’s exactly the same size as Mellette but he plays for a big school and he plays even harder. No one in this draft reminds me of Boldin more than Rogers. But why are we all looking for a Boldin type player? Don’t we just need a possesion receiver, regardless of what they type is?

    • Paul Lukoskie on said:

      Absolutely. I think everyone assumes that the Ravens will go after a WR that is “similar” to Boldin…whatever that means. Did the Patriots go after a “Randy Moss” type of receiver when they let him go? Nope. I think the Ravens are just going to be interested in guys who are good players. Aaron Mellette has nice size, but he had a pretty rough outing at the Senior Bowl. He’s more of a project at this point. However, Da’Rick Rogers is certainly someone to keep an eye on. He is a fantastic receiver prospect with excellent size and good hands. He’s a knuckle head though. Do you have any idea how hard it is to get booted from Tennessee? Those guys can do practically whatever they want and not get kicked off the team. Just read some of the things that Eric Ainge said he did when he was at Tennessee and the number of times he was caught and nothing happened to him. You almost have to try to get kicked out of that program.

      Just because the Ravens have a strong locker room does not mean that they’re ok with drafting guys like Rogers.

      • True on said:

        What did he do? Do you think he was humbled by what he did? Also, what’s goin’ on with the honey badger? We don’t need him, I don’t think we’ll get him, I’m just wondering what happened.

        • Paul Lukoskie on said:

          Multiple drug test failures for one thing. Missing meetings, showing up late to practice, etc. If you are a star player at a program like Tennessee, which by all accounts he was, then you can get away with that stuff for a while. Rogers just didn’t know how to take a hint.

          Tyrann Mathieu is an interesting case. Frankly, even if he maintained a good standing at LSU I’m not sure he’d be anything more than a 3rd rounder. He is kind of a tweener size wise and he doesn’t really have outstanding cover skills. He plays hard and he has a knack for the big play though. It is just hard to gauge whether or not he is a safety or a corner. I think Mathieu is genuinely remorseful for what went on with him at LSU. The problem I had is the guy got booted and continued to, not only do drugs, but sell them to the tune of felony offenses.

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