DeAndre Hopkins off to a hot start for the Cardinals in 2021

(Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images) DeAndre Hopkins
(Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images) DeAndre Hopkins /

Not that it was ever really in doubt, but Arizona Cardinals receiver DeAndre Hopkins continues to prove he is one of the best in the National Football League.

The acquisition of wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins from the Houston Texans was the trade heard around the NFL in 2020. The three-time First-Team All-Pro made an immediate impact on an Arizona Cardinals offense that had seemed stagnant during the previous season.

141 receptions and 1,774 yards later, Hopkins continues to prove his worth as a top-tier receiving talent. He has changed the dynamic of the Cardinals offense and can take an entire side of the field singlehandedly due to his amazing talent level.

Just about the only surprising stat line from Hopkins in 2020 was a seeming lack of touchdown receptions. He finished the season with only six, the third-lowest count of his career.

His usage has changed in 2021 and a stat reversal looks to be taking place. Thanks to an increase in talent at other wide receiver spots, Hopkins is no longer the sole option for Kyler Murray in tough spots. Christian Kirk has been thriving, A.J. Green has been rebuilding his career, and rookie Rondale Moore has had some impressive showings.

DeAndre Hopkins is playing a slightly different role this season for the Arizona Cardinals

Hopkins’ receiving yards through six games sits at 367, with no 100+ yard games so far. This still has him finishing the season with over 1,000 yards, an impressive accomplishment without doubt but still a decrease from last season’s total of 1,407.

What has seen an incredible uptick is the usage of Hopkins in the red zone. Through six games, Hopkins has racked up six touchdowns, matching his total from the entire 2020 season. If that pace continues, he will finish the 2021 season with 17 touchdowns in the regular season (the single-season record was set in 2007 by Randy Moss with 23).

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While his stats look different from last season, Hopkins is still showing he is a Top 3, if not the best, wide receiver in the NFL.