DeAndre Hopkins had a brilliant third NFL season, collecting 111 catches for 1,521 yards and 11 touchdowns despite a rotating group of middling quarterbacks in Houston.
It's scary to think how good Hopkins could be if he ever got a franchise quarterback. The wideout can't control personnel management in his building, but he can continue to find ways to better his game. Hopkins had just 201 yards after catch (YAC) last season, ranking him 118th among NFL players. You have to dig, but there's a spot for improvement.
"There's a lot that I need to improve on, YAC, which I finished last in," Hopkins said Saturday, via the Houston Chronicle. "Being a better leader, not getting frustrated when things aren't going my way, just being a leader of this team."
Hopkins said the person who made him aware of his YAC deficiency might have been Bills wide receiver Sammy Watkins, another former Clemson standout.
"Sammy or somebody said, 'Look, bro, you and me last in YAC,'" Hopkins said. "We were first in balls over 40 yards. It kind of evens out. There's a lot of things I can get better at as an individual, knowing where defenders are, having a better awareness. Those are things I can work on."
In truth, we're not sure how much yards after catch is about the receiver and how much goes back to the quarterback getting the ball in the playmakers hands in a way that allows him to do more than get dragged to the ground. Whether Hopkins improves this metric or not, he's still one of the top six or seven wide receivers in football.