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If it were a year ago, people would be talking about Arizona Cardinals wide receiver as one of the top two or three receivers on the planet. He was coming off his first season with the Cardinals in which he set a franchise record in receptions.
In 2021, he only played in 10 games and posted career-lows in receptions and receiving yards, although he did score eight touchdowns in 10 games.
Now, in Touchdown Wire’s rankings of the top 16 receivers in the league by Mark Schofield, Hopkins only ranks seventh.
It is never a good thing when the phrases “when healthy” or “when available” appear in a write-up like this one.
However, that is where we find ourselves with DeAndre Hopkins heading into the 2022 campaign.
Last season saw his streak of four-straight years with over 1,000 receiving yards cut short when Hopkins suffered a torn MCL in December, cutting his season short. It was the first time he played less than 15 games in a season, and it limited him to just 42 receptions for 572 yards and eight touchdowns.
Then there is the suspension, which will see Hopkins on the sidelines for the first six games of the 2022 season for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs. Hopkins maintains his innocence and is hoping for a reduction in the suspension, but the six games remain in place as of now.
What can the Arizona Cardinals expect when he comes back? A ball-winner on the outside. Whether making tough adjustments like this one against the San Francisco 49ers:
Or working himself free late in the down for this touchdown against the Minnesota Vikings:
Hopkins’ ability in scramble-drill situations is a huge plus for Arizona, given what Kyler Murray does at the quarterback position.
It feels like a snub, but the players who are ranked above Hopkins are Ja’Marr Chase, Tyreek Hill, Justin Jefferson, Cooper Kupp, Stefon Diggs and Davante Adams. It is tough to argue that, right now, Hopkins is better than those guys.
Hopkins was hurt last year, he is now in his 30s and has to deal with a PED suspension.
After his returns in Week 7, if he stays healthy and the Arizona offense goes the way it should with the weapons they have, Hopkins could find himself higher on this list next year.