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DeAndre Hopkins might start early for Houston Texans

The Houston Texans addressed a burning need in the 2013 NFL Draft by selecting Clemson wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins in the first round.

Already penciled in as a starter, Hopkins is under pressure to make an immediate impact at the Z role across from six-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Andre Johnson.

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"I'm expecting it right off the get-go," Texans coach Gary Kubiak told the team's official website this week. "He's going in there, he's gonna get the reps. It's gonna be a very competitive situation, but we took (Hopkins at No. 27 overall) because we expect him to play very, very early and touch (the ball).

"This guy's on his way to being a pro already, and we've got to help him get there real fast."

Hopkins -- as much as any rookie in the 2013 class -- is being leaned on to roll into the NFL. Texans offensive coordinator Rick Dennison has toiled for seasons without a proper No. 2 lined up opposite Johnson, saying after the draft, "I was just holding my breath (that Hopkins would be there at No. 27)."

Getting NFL production out of a rookie pass-catcher is a wild card, but Hopkins brings proven route-running skills and an on-field style that's been compared to Atlanta Falcons standout Roddy White. With very little on the roster behind him, the Texans are in a rough spot if Hopkins struggles early.

Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.

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