Watson has played only one season -- and barely that -- with the Houston Texans, but Hopkins is already convinced that their quarterback-wide receiver duo will be the best in the league next season.
"I expect us to be the best duo in the NFL," Hopkins told reporters Tuesday. "That's my goal. I'm pretty sure that's his goal. And if we have all these goals for ourselves, that's going to help the team get what we get to."
Watson burst onto the scene as a rookie in 2017. After backing up Tom Savage in Houston's first game, Watson started the Texans' next six contests and went on a torrid touchdown pace. The rookie out of Clemson threw for 1,699 yards and 19 scores in seven games until he suffered a season-ending knee injury. Extrapolated over a full 16-game slate, Watson was on pace to throw for 3,883 yards and 43 touchdowns, the latter of which would have shattered the rookie QB record (26: Peyton Manning, 1998; Russell Wilson, 2012).
Hopkins was the main beneficiary of Watson's historic debut. In the first seven games of the 2017 season, the receiver reeled in seven touchdowns; with Savage and T.J. Yates under center for the remaining nine games, Hopkins caught just six scores.
"It's hard not to daydream what Deshaun can do with a full season under his belt," Hopkins added. "[Before he got hurt] he was only getting better and better each week."
Before Watson came into his life, Hopkins had to put up with a motley carousel of mediocre schmoes at quarterback in Houston. Since entering the league in 2013, the wideout has caught touchdown passes from Matt Schaub, Case Keenum, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Brian Hoyer, Ryan Mallett, T.J. Yates, Brandon Weeden, Brock Osweiler and the aforementioned Savage. Needless to say, the lightning-rod Watson was a welcome addition into Hopkins' orbit.
But to be the best duo, a statistically verifiable moniker to which Hopkins has so boldly aspired, the Texans twosome will have to exceed the production of some future Hall of Famers. These include Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown (1,535 yards in 2017), Matt Ryan and Julio Jones (1,444) and Philip Rivers and Keenan Allen (1,393). Hopkins' career-high in receiving yards, set in 2015, is 1,521.
There's no telling if Watson will be the same quarterback coming back from injury or if the Texans can maintain last season's brilliant offensive stretch with what coach Bill O'Brien called an "entirely different offense" in place. But on that front, Houston's heroes are undaunted.
"[Our potential] is through the roof. We're as good as we think and the work that we put in," Watson said. "We have a long way to go, but at the same time, we have that mindset that we want to break records together."