The NFL world has been on DeAndre Hopkins watch for a long time. Rumors and speculation have abounded on where the star receiver would land. At one point, the Buffalo Bills (who we care about) were considered the likely destination (and maybe this article was originally a pre-write from back then).
But as we know now, something went awry in our universe. Hopkins signed a two-year deal with the Tennessee Titans. Just like a fun spinoff Marvel series, that has plenty of fans asking...
Deandre Hopkins had signed with the Buffalo Bills?
Play 0 — Hopkins into the Multiverse
On Earth 42, Dr. Strange intervenes to avoid a Texas-sized catastrophe. In the case of DeAndre Hopkins, that would be the second one of those. Blasting aimlessly through the infinity of universes, Dr. Strange sets off a chain of events that leads Hopkins to Orchard Park, NY.
In that universe, we’d have wanted an All-22 article to see what DHop has left in the tank. Since we’re in this universe (Earth 13 I believe), let’s pretend we’re in that one. Or that we wanted to see what we missed out on. I bravely followed Dr. Strange through the multiverse to retrieve Skarekrow 42’s analysis article.
Play 1 — Hopkins’ brakes
With the PED suspension and a recent history that includes injuries, the concern Skarekrow 42 would have had going into their film review was speed, cuts, and all manner of things that require the lower body being healthy to work. As an FYI, that Skarekrow would have chosen this game to highlight as Hopkins had one catch for four yards in this one. On ten targets. What if... DHop can shine despite a terrible stat line?
For now, let’s just say Hopkins is still able to hit the brakes.
Play 2 — So close to two catches on ten targets
There’s another nice cut, and expertly timed to find the gap between two defenders. Hopkins has to stretch to get the ball and, as it turns out, when a receiver is jumping for a catch — the defense is actually allowed to knock the ball loose.
Play 3 — Hopkins brings more than just catches
The GIF makes the point that Hopkins draws attention and opens things up for other players. A point of emphasis though is how close the highlighted defender is to breaking up this pass. That slight hesitation caused by watching Hopkins was likely all the difference in the world here.
Play 4 — Hopkins getting wiggly
This is an impressive change of direction and not something I think many receivers would even attempt, let alone get away with in the NFL. Hopkins seemed aware he wasn’t getting the first down with brute force and attempted to fake out his opponent with a cut inside, then quickly directed back upfield.
Play 5 — Hopkins knows when to take care of himself
The catch isn’t the highlight here. With the last two seasons aside, Hopkins has been very durable in his career and a large part of that is understanding when a play is over and protecting himself. The pause shows Hopkins turning and dropping to avoid what could have been a brutal hit.
Play 6 — Hopkins wants the ball
This play also shows that self-preservation instinct again, but let’s forget football for a second and talk psychology. One thing Skarekrow 42 saw a lot of was DeAndre Hopkins calling for the ball. Generally speaking he was indeed open when waving his arm. Will he get upset if it’s not coming his way often enough? Will anyone else get upset if he’s eating up targets? These might be good problems to have, to be candid.
Skarekrow 42 was a bit worried (and still is) that lower body injuries will be a problem. The big dilemma is that DeAndre Hopkins was injured after the Tampa Bay Buccaneers game and didn’t return to the lineup due to a knee injury. He missed time earlier in the season with a hamstring injury as well. That said, the last time he suited up, Hopkins looked great. On our Earth, the injury concerns are Tennessee’s problem. The potential upside the Bills didn’t wind up with though is a bit disappointing.
It’s likely a good thing we’re in this universe. On Earth 42, things get a little out of hand...