by Marc Vandermeer @TexansVoice
Ten years ago, Andre Johnson took part in a rookie camp for the Texans. The number three overall pick was catching passes from third round selection Dave Ragone. It was not as pretty as it could have been. He had some drops. Ragone’s southpaw clockwise spin (from the receiver’s view) was an adjustment for Andre. Also, the velocity was a factor. Johnson said at the time “I’m in the NFL now. I have to make some adjustments. The ball was coming a little faster. You just have to learn. I’m a rookie so I just have to start all over again.” You had the feeling everything would be OK.
And it was.
Back to now. Ten years later, the only other receiver taken by the Texans in the first round is putting together a display that makes your announcer think it won’t be long before he’s officially the second best receiver in the history of the franchise. Gary Kubiak says Hopkins’ ball skills are “extremely special.” And “he’s gonna help us early.”
Hopkins was the best player on the field this weekend. He was sometimes as wide open as Andre Johnson can inexplicably be. When covered, he still found ways to make plays. He had at least one catch on a ball that was behind him that could have been used in his feature on the TV show Sports Science.
He gets open, catches everything and was second in the nation in TD receptions. He had 13 catches for 191 yards and two TDs against an LSU defense that, all told, had six players drafted.
More from Rookie Camp…
Running Back Convention
It’s hard to tell. But you know the people in this organization pride themselves, and for good reason, on striking oil where no one else would drill. They even brought in Deji Karim who killed them with a kickoff return for a TD for Indy last season. After watching these guys operate, it’s hard to imagine there’s not at least one serviceable NFL back in the group. Kubiak said that three would come to camp. That’s in addition to Foster and Tate.
Are You Sure He’s Not A First Rounder?
D.J. Swearinger made a terrific pick on Saturday and just looked the part of an NFL play-making safety. He’s confident and appears to have the ball skills to go along with the physical presence to give the Texans that dual-role interchangeable safety they were looking for.
Of the players who have been on ‘Texans Campus,’ Case Keenum is the biggest revelation. He had utter command of the huddle. His passes were sharp. He made plays ‘off schedule.’ He looked like a leader. What does it mean long term? Who knows? But he is clearly better and at least might make things very interesting for the back up competition.
Better Than We Thought
Collin Klein has been working hard. You can see it. Jake Plummer knows what Kubiak wants and he has tutored Klein to fit the part. He looked much better on day two than day one and Kubiak said he saved his best for Sunday. This is where an NFL Europe or some sort of developmental situation would really come in handy. Speaking of Plummer, anyone else surprised he’s mentoring football players? He walked away from the game in his prime. I thought this meant he might be farming in rural Colorado or meditating on a mountain top.
The Eye Test
Some players jump out physically. Not just size, but they “look the part.“ Ryan Griffin, the 6th round TE from UConn is a large man (6-6, 247) who can hit hard, run fast and catch (laymen description). Justin Tuggle, the OLB and former QB from Kansas State jumps out at you from across the field (6-3, 244). Alan Bonner, the 5-10, 193 pound WR from Jacksonville State certainly doesn’t have Hopkins’ size. But he plays with passion and does whatever it takes to make plays.
Tune in to Texans All Access Tuesday 12-2pm on Texans Radio -SportsRadio610 for more on the rookie camp. Case Keenum will be among the guests.
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