DeAndre Hopkins had one of the best seasons by a wide receiver in NFL history in his first year in Arizona. Yet the Arizona Cardinals didn't even have to part ways with a first-round pick to acquire the Pro Bowl wide receiver.
The Tennessee Titans didn't have to trade a first-round pick to acquire Julio Jones from the Atlanta Falcons, either, which baffles Hopkins. Jones is still one of the best wide receivers in the game, yet was a bargain for Tennessee.
A No. 1 wide receiver's value in the league apparently isn't worth a first-round pick, since no team was willing to part ways with that premium draft capital.
"I would like to see first-round picks that can do what Julio and myself do," Hopkins said Wednesday on a conference call at Cardinals minicamp, via the Cardinals website. "I mean, I know I was only coming off a First Team All-Pro so I kinda figured I might only go for a second-round -- but I was surprised a guy like Julio would only go for a second rounder."
Jones has the second-most receiving yards (12,896) and the fourth-most receptions (848) through a player's first 10 seasons in NFL history. Jones has averaged 100-plus yards per game in five different seasons (the most in NFL history) and his 95.5 career receiving yards per game is the highest for any player in league history (nine yards higher than second-place Calvin Johnson). Jones has led the NFL in receiving yards twice and receiving yards per game three times. He is also one of just 20 wide receivers with seven Pro Bowl selections and 11 wideouts with two First-Team All-Pro selections.
Yet he was only dealt for a second-round pick -- much like Hopkins, who chuckled when he made the comments on the Jones deal. Hopkins did mention that Justin Jefferson and some of the wide receivers coming out of college are a little more advanced than he was when he played at Clemson, but that shouldn't diminish the value of what Jones can bring to a team.
Hopkins caught 115 passes for 1,407 yards and six touchdowns in his first season with Arizona, despite for being dealt for just a second-round pick. He wouldn't be surprised if Jones has that kind of impact in his first season with the Titans.