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DeAndre Hopkins on the Texans draft: 'No more double teams'

HOUSTON -- Will Fuller in the first round plus Braxton Miller in the third round equaled to a very happy DeAndre Hopkins.

That was the idea for the Texans when they set out to completely revamp their offense this offseason. This was the first time in the Texans' history, that they drafted two receivers within the first three rounds of the same draft, according to ESPN Stats and Info. Hopkins was dynamic last season, and made his first Pro Bowl. But he carried a hefty load for a Texans offense that didn't have many options.

So they added threats all over the field this offseason, starting even before the draft with running back Lamar Miller, another fast addition to a previously sluggish offense. They took Fuller, a receiver known for his speed and big play ability, in the first round. They took Miller, fairly new to receiver, but explosive, athletic and versatile, in the third round.

"Will Fuller, D-Hop, [Jaelen] Strong," Miller said. "The crew is going to be strong now. We're good."

Their offensive arsenal is unrecognizable from the group that finished last season by being shut out at home in the playoffs.

To be clear, quarterback play was the biggest problem for the Texans last season, which was especially apparent in the playoff game they lost 30-0 to the Chiefs. Brian Hoyer's five turnovers might not have caused the loss by themselves, but they held most of the blame.

Not every game was like that for Hoyer.

In those that weren't, the offense often struggled because of the stifling double teams on DeAndre Hopkins. Hoyer tested those double teams perhaps less than he should have, but they grew in number and intensity as the season progressed. The New England Patriots were especially successful, using smart coverages to become the only team last season to hold Hopkins under five catches. The Texans lost that game 27-6.

Most teams that doubled Hopkins found success. The New York Jets tried to leave noteworthy cornerback Darrelle Revis on Hopkins alone, but Hopkins embarrassed the storied corner in the first half of that game. The Jets later gave him help. The Texans won that game 24-17.

Last season the Texans struggled to counteract double-teams on Hopkins. Despite having a Pro Bowl receiver, they ranked in the bottom half of the league in pass yards, 29th in net yards per pass attempt and 21st in offensive points per game.

Hopkins ranked third among receivers with 1,521 receiving yards. He ranked third in targets with 190 last season. He was first for several weeks, until those double teams became more plentiful.

The Texans now have playmakers who should be able to threaten defenses enough that Hopkins will be left open more often than he should be.

You can't blame him for getting excited.