At just 24 years old, DeAndre Hopkins has emerged as a star wide receiver in the NFL. Despite an impressive catch radius and natural athleticism, Hopkins also turned to a surprising source for his early success.
"Johnathan Joseph, he's one of the smartest guys if not the smartest guy in that locker room on knowing football, offense and defense," Hopkins said on Texans Radio April 25. "He's an older guy, but still he probably leads the league in pass deflections."
Johnathan Joseph, now entering his 12th NFL season and seventh with Houston, has seen action in 156 career games with 145 starts. Joseph, a two-time Pro Bowler, currently leads all NFL players with 159 passes defensed since being drafted by Cincinnati in 2006.
As a rookie, Hopkins also learned from mentor and All-Pro Andre Johnson. However, the defensive backs give him a different perspective, according to Hopkins. Joseph covered the top receivers in the league week after week for over a decade.
"It's not just because of his athletic ability," Hopkins said. "It's because of his awareness of knowing football. Every time I come to the sideline, J-Jo is probably the first guy right there talking to me before any offensive guy on how I can beat this defender, on what he's seeing, on what kind of coverage they're playing. I need that and he's been like that since my first year being here."
Hopkins has the most receptions, receiving yards, receiving touchdowns, and 100-yard receiving games through a player's first four seasons in Texans history.
Check out the best 24 shots of CB Johnathan Joseph from last season.