ESPN poll has Arizona Cardinals’ DeAndre Hopkins as 2nd-best WR

Jul 14, 2021, 11:17 AM | Updated: 2:00 pm
Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (10) scores a touchdown as Philadelphia Eagles defe...
Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (10) scores a touchdown as Philadelphia Eagles defensive back Michael Jacquet (38) defends during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 20, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

In his first year with the Arizona Cardinals, wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins lived up to the hype.

He ended 2020 with 115 receptions for 1,407 yards and six touchdowns, and he finished first among all receivers in first-down catches (75).

ESPN’s poll of NFL executives rank Hopkins as the second-best wide receiver heading into 2021. He sits in the top three with Green Bay Packers’ Davante Adams (1st) and Buffalo Bills’ Stefon Diggs (3rd).

‘He’s not a blazer, but who cares — the guy just wins,’ an NFC offensive coach said. ‘With those big hands and long arms, and the way he competes, I’m not sure I’d want anyone else to make a catch for me if I needed one play with the game on the line.’

The Cardinals wideout and quarterback Kyler Murray didn’t have a regular offseason together, but Murray learned to trust Hopkins in big moments.

With just seconds left and three defenders in his grill, Hopkins caught a 43-yard touchdown pass from Murray to defeat the Bills 32-30 in Week 10.

The game-winning play was recognized as the “Hail Murray” and named Best Play at the 2021 ESPYs.

But this was just a glimpse at how reliable Hopkins was last season. He dropped only one pass out of his team-leading 160 targets (0.06%), compared to a 2% drop rate in 2019.

And while he doesn’t mind carrying most of the load, Hopkins also doesn’t mind having help.

To team with Hopkins and Christian Kirk, Arizona added former Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green and drafted Purdue wide receiver Rondale Moore in the second round.

More weapons could mean fewer eyes on Hopkins, which means more targets and one-on-one opportunities for the five-time Pro Bowler.

Arizona Cardinals

Arizona Cardinals kicker Matt Prater (5) celebrates his go-ahead field goal with punter Andy Lee (1...
Kevin Zimmerman

Cardinals GM Steve Keim has never seen ball jump off foot like it does Matt Prater’s

Cardinals GM Steve Keim said Matt Prater's leg strength popped in practice by how it sounds and how it comes off his foot.
1 day ago
Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) throws a pass against the Denver Broncos duri...
Tyler Drake

Cardinals focused on starting fast against Trevor Lawrence, Jaguars

Ahead of the Week 3 matchup against the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Arizona Cardinals defense is ready to slow down Trevor Lawrence.
1 day ago
Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (10) signals first down after his catch against the...
Arizona Sports

Cardinals-Jaguars injury report: WR DeAndre Hopkins a gametime decision

DeAndre Hopkins is listed as a gametime decision with a rib injury ahead of the Cardinals Week 3 contest against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
1 day ago
Head coach Kliff Kingsbury of the Arizona Cardinals talks to Kyler Murray #1 of the Arizona Cardina...
Doug Franz

Starts for Arizona Cardinals, Arizona State all about perspective

What do you believe? The Cardinals' and Sun Devils' seasons are all about your perspective and expectations.
1 day ago
GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 28: Clemson Tigers quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) and linebacker Isaiah S...
Tyler Drake

Clemson teammates Isaiah Simmons, Trevor Lawrence face off in Week 3

During their time at Clemson, Cardinals LB Isaiah Simmons wasn't allowed to hit Jaguars QB Trevor Lawrence. That all changes Sunday.
1 day ago
Anquan Boldin #81 of the Arizona Cardinals stands on the sideline prior to the game against the San...
Kellan Olson

Anquan Boldin proud of playing part in Cardinals’ turnaround as franchise

Former Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Anquan Boldin said one of the best moments in his career was helping turn things around in Arizona.
2 days ago
ESPN poll has Arizona Cardinals’ DeAndre Hopkins as 2nd-best WR