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Texans expect DeAndre Hopkins to contribute right away

Posted May 1, 2013

In the Texans’ 11-year history, all but two of their first-round draft picks have started in Week 1 as rookies. DeAndre Hopkins should continue that trend.

In the Texans’ 11-year history, all but two of their first-round draft picks have started on opening day as rookies.

It sounds like wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, the 27th overall pick out of Clemson, has a good chance to continue that trend.

“I’m expecting it right off the get-go,” Texans coach Gary Kubiak said Monday after being asked how quickly Hopkins might be ready for a big role. “He’s going in there, he’s gonna get the reps. It’s gonna be a very competitive situation, but we took him there 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 joins a Texans receiving corps that, aside from Andre Johnson, features four veterans who have combined for two career starts and 16 catches. That includes DeVier Posey, who tore his Achilles in the 2012 playoffs and faces a long road to recovery.

In three seasons at Clemson, Hopkins set school receiving records with 3,020 yards and 27 touchdowns. As a junior in 2012, he had 82 catches for a school-record 1,405 yards and ACC-record 18 touchdowns. He topped 100 yards in each of his three career bowl games, capped by a 13-catch, 191-yard performance in a Chick-Fil-A Bowl victory against LSU in December.

“We love this guy,” Texans general manager Rick Smith said. “He is a guy who we thought could best come into this situation and help us the quickest, and not only quickly but this guy can evolve and develop into quite a player.”

The only Texans first-round picks who did not start in Week 1 were defensive tackle Travis Johnson in 2005 and linebacker Whitney Mercilus in 2012. All 10 of the Texans’ other first-rounders have started at least 14 games as a rookie.

Hopkins was the first receiver drafted in the first round by the Texans since Andre Johnson in 2003. Kubiak said Hopkins reminds him a little bit of Johnson off the field and Denver Broncos great Rod Smith on the field.

“He’s very productive,” Kubiak said. “The thing that I like about him, he played big-time ball. I like his progression in his career, watching him get better each year as you go back and look at him statistically. Then, I like when the lights got really big, this guy got very competitive. LSU, the bowl game, stands out to me. He’s got a big, big upside; I think he’s still on the come. He really didn’t play in an offense that threw the ball a great deal.

“He reminds me of Andre a little but from the standpoint of he’s quiet, he’s confident, knows what he wants to do. Hopefully, we’ll get him headed in that direction.”

Twitter.com/NickScurfield

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