Wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins #10 of the Houston Texans walks on the field before the game against the Indianapolis Colts at NRG Stadium on November 21, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
You’re getting what you expect when you ask new Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins where he stacks up against the best wideouts in the league.
The question from ESPN’s Jalen & Jacoby on Thursday even elicited a slight smile and chuckle.
“I definitely think I’m the best,” Hopkins said. “I know I’m the best.”
Some of the names presented to him were the New Orleans Saints’ Michael Thomas and Atlanta Falcons wideout Julio Jones. Hopkins thinks they had a slight advantage over him that’s out of his control.
“Mike’s my boy. I love Mike. But he knows if I had Drew Brees my whole career what these numbers would be. Julio Jones knows if I had Matt Ryan my whole career. That’s my boy. I trained with Julio, too. He knows what these numbers would be.
“Those guys are definitely blessed to be in a position where, their whole career, they had a Pro Bowl quarterback — quarterback that they spent multiple seasons with. But I don’t complain. I don’t make excuses. I go out there and work.”
Now, Hopkins did have Pro Bowl quarterback Deshaun Watson in Houston with the Texans the last three seasons. But Thomas and Jones had the benefit of having those quarterbacks their entire career, whereas Hopkins spent his first four seasons without Watson.
Hopkins is right alongside those two names in the past three seasons when all three guys had that high-level quarterback. He ranked third in receiving yards (4,115), first in touchdowns (31) and second in receptions (315), per football-reference.
For reference, Thomas and Jones are the top-two in receiving yards and Thomas had a ridiculous 63-catch edge over Hopkins in receptions.
Hopkins now moves to Arizona, where he gets a quarterback in Kyler Murray that is not on the level right now as those quarterbacks, but has the potential to be.
More importantly, Kliff Kingsbury’s offense is going to keep things chugging at a high pace. That obviously excites Hopkins, to the point where he’s calling for one of his best seasons.
“Obviously I’ve played with a lot of quarterbacks and put up great numbers, being in offenses that necessarily weren’t a pass-first offense,” he said. “So, myself, being a receiver, of course I see my stats going up.
“We have other great receivers out there — Christian Kirk, Larry Fitzgerald and a lot of other guys out there — but I definitely see myself having one of my more productive seasons.”