DeAndre Hopkins on Julio Jones trade: ‘1st-round picks are better than us’
TEMPE, Ariz. — The Atlanta Falcons made waves across the NFL in more ways than one on Sunday when they traded away wide receiver Julio Jones to the Tennessee Titans.
The Titans acquired Jones for a 2022 second-round draft pick and a 2023 fourth-rounder, while also receiving a 2023 sixth-rounder in return.
The Titans obviously bolstered their wide receiving corps with the addition of Jones for far less of a price tag many would assume would come with the seven-time Pro Bowler.
Not too long ago a similar situation unfolded when wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins was dealt to the Arizona Cardinals in exchange for a struggling David Johnson, a 2020 second-rounder and a 2021 fourth-round pick. Hopkins was coming off an All-Pro season.
The similarities of the trades — namely the lack of first-round picks in the deals — wasn’t lost on Hopkins following Arizona’s mandatory minicamp on Wednesday.
“That we’re not worth first-round picks, that first-round picks are better than us,” Hopkins said smiling when asked about a No. 1 wide receiver’s value in the NFL. “Especially, I would like to see first-round picks that can do what Julio and myself do.
“But you know, guys are pretty good, you know receiver corps, receiving groups coming out of college are a little more advanced than I was back in my days even though I only had like however many touchdowns, 15 or so touchdowns. But you got guys like [Minnesota Vikings WR] Justin Jefferson who come in balling as a rookie. There are definitely some guys that come in and do what Julio and myself do.
“I was surprised about Julio,” Hopkins added. “I mean, I know I was only coming off a First-team All-Pro so I kinda figured I might only go for a second-round but I was surprised a guy like Julio would only go for a second rounder.”
While it’s yet to be seen what Jones will do in Tennessee’s offense, Hopkins made the Cardinals look like the clear-cut winners of his 2020 trade in a hurry, posting 1,407 yards (third among NFL pass catchers) and six touchdowns on 115 receptions (second).
Hopkins will get a firsthand look at Jones’ start as a Titan when Arizona takes on Tennessee in Week 1.