NFL players, coaches, execs rank DeAndre Hopkins clear No. 2 WR in NFL

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Who is the best receiver in the NFL? Arizona Cardinals fans think it is their own DeAndre Hopkins. He would say the same thing if asked. However, when ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler polled NFL players, coaches and executives, Hopkins was not the guy. However, he is the clear No. 2 in the league.

According to the numbers compiled by Fowler, Green Bay’s Davante Adams was the clear top receiver and it wasn’t close.

Hopkins did get ranked by individuals as high as No. 1 and someone inexplicably had him seventh.

The “Hail Murray” play that will live in Cardinals folklore isn’t all that unusual for Hopkins, whose catch radius helps him catch balls over, around and through defensive backs.

“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.”

In his first year in Arizona, Hopkins’ 75 first-down catches led all wide receivers, and he dropped one pass on 159 targets, or 0.06%, an improvement from a 2% clip the year before.

Arizona’s Air Raid could stand to get Hopkins loose on more splash plays. His 14.8% rate of 20-plus-yard catches is among the lowest on this list.

“He never really separates from you but he’s so strong that if you’re not physical he will push you around,” a veteran AFC defensive coach said.

He wasn’t asked to do challenging things for a receiver last year and still was incredibly productive. We will see if he is used in more ways in 2021, now that he has had a true offseason and is in the second year in the Cardinals’ offense.

It is true he doesn’t have top-end speed, but he gets yards after the catch. He is elusive and physical. He catches passes in high volumes and makes big plays.

Should he be No. 1? Maybe, but Adams was so good last year and found the end zone more.

It really comes down to preference. Between Adams and Hopkins, do you really lose with either one of them on your team?

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