The decision by the Houston Texans to trade DeAndre Hopkins to Arizona helps the Jacksonville Jaguars this season.
The AFC South will miss the talents of DeAndre Hopkins, the great wide receiver who spent the first seven seasons of his career in Houston. But his departure does help the Jaguars and the other rivals in the division.
In what can be described as the free agent blunder of the offseason, Hopkins was cast away by the Houston Texans to the Arizona Cardinals in exchange for running back David Johnson, a 2020 second-round pick and 2021 fourth-round pick. Now, the star receiver’s departure will be a great benefit for the Jaguars.
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In seven seasons with the Texans, Hopkins caught 632 passes for 8,602 yards and 54 touchdowns. Last season, Hopkins caught 13 passes for 88 yards and a touchdown in two games against the Jaguars.
Without Hopkins, it will be much more difficult for the Texans to generate long-sustaining drives, a benefit to Jacksonville’s defense that is going through a rebuild this upcoming season.
Jacksonville is short on cornerbacks right now, after trading Jalen Ramsey to the Los Angeles Rams midseason, and A.J. Bouye to the Denver Broncos early in the offseason. The team’s current cornerback depth chart includes free-agent signing Darqueze Dennard, D.J. Hayden, Tre Herndon, and Brandon Watson.
the Hopkins-Ramsey matchup we loved watching as fans will now have a chance to continue in the NFC West for the 2020 season.
Many defensive backs will be available to the Jaguars in the upcoming draft including Ohio State’s Jeff Okudah, Florida’s C.J. Henderson and LSU’s Kristian Fulton. We hope the front office can add one of them to the roster in the first two rounds.
Now, the team’s defensive backs will only have to deal with Will Fuller and Kenny Stills. Meanwhile, on the offensive side of the football, the departure of Hopkins evaluates third-year player D.J. Chark as one of the best receivers in the AFC South, along with T.Y. Hilton of the Indianapolis Colts and A.J. Brown of the Tennessee Titans.
Moves like the one Houston made change the landscape of a division. Anticipating many more offseason moves in free agency and the draft, the division will change going into the 2020 season.
Jacksonville might not be so far behind as initially thought. Signings like Dennard and linebacker Joe Schobert will elevate the current Jaguars defense, along with the growth of pass rusher Josh Allen. A multitude of draft picks with more to come assuming defensive end Yannick Ngakoue is traded will also boost the team’s talent.
The Texans have taken a step back after the Hopkins trade, the Titans brought back two key free agents in Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry, while the Colts are setting up for a win-now season with Philip Rivers at quarterback.
Jacksonville is still a couple of seasons away from making noise in the AFC South or the conference, but Houston gave them one less problem to deal with.