One of the bigger stories this offseason was the potential of free agent receiver DeAndre Hopkins landing with the Patriots, which could have added a clear number-one target to an already fairly talented group.
Unfortunately, it appears that won’t be happening.
According to AtoZSports’s Doug Kyed, Hopkins is instead reuniting with former Texans assistant and Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Vrabel, with Kyed reporting that a deal for Hopkins is expected to become official with the club in the few days.
While disappointing, the New England Patriots head into training camp with a relatively solid group of receivers, albeit without a dominant player anchoring it.
New addition JuJu Smith-Schuster joins incumbents Kendrick Bourne, DeVante Parker, and second-year wideout Tyquan Thornton to round out this year’s receiving corps, with question marks still remaining on who fills in the bottom of the depth chart.
Sixth-round picks Kayshon Boutte and Demario Douglas are expected to be potential dark-horses to make an impact in training camp, with Douglas gaining the edge after Boutte had moments where he drew the ire of offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien during minicamps.
Also still hanging around is Tre Nixon, who shined during OTA’s and was a name that came up repeatedly during last year’s preseason. Nixon has been a fan favorite and an underdog many are rooting for, and whether or not this will finally be the year he’ll break through is the big question mark for the former UCF standout.
For now, while the Patriots lost out to Vrabel, they still have a pretty good group of players who should also see some additional help from their tight ends. Offseason addition Mike Gesicki and veteran Hunter Henry should each be poised to make big contributions, and that could help this unit be fairly productive despite the lack of a true top target.
The biggest question will be the health of that group, with Smith-Schuster, Parker, and Thornton each dealing with injuries in 2022. All three also each missed some times during offseason workouts, which will be something everyone will also be watching when they hit the field in two weeks.
Posted Under: Patriots News
Tags: DeAndre Hopkins New England Patriots Tennessee Titans