Dan Campbell declined to comment at OTA practices when asked about the possibility of the Detroit Lions signing 3-time first-team All-Pro wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins. But on June 8, Lions current wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown was much more willing to address rumors that the Lions could sign Hopkins.
St. Brown complimented what his team already has in the wide receiver room. But that doesn’t mean he isn’t in favor of adding another talented, veteran wideout.
“Obviously, when you talk about an All-Pro player, he’s obviously going to help any team he joins,” St. Brown told NFL Network’s Andrew Siciliano and Steve Wyche during an interview. “But, the guys we have now in this room, I feel like, we all do things differently, we all do things really well.
“Josh Reynolds, Kalif Raymond, me, Marvin Jones, who we added, we’ve got some rookies, some young guys. We’ve got a lot of guys that do things well, on our team right now.
“But, like you said, adding a guy like that, he’s going to help any team.”
While Hopkins isn’t the same receiver he was five years ago, it’s hard to argue with St. Brown’s assessment. Hopkins posted 64 catches for 717 yards and 3 touchdowns in just nine games during the 2022 season.
Pros & Cons to Lions Signing DeAndre Hopkins
Fox Sports’ Shannon Sharpe called the Lions “the most logical spot” for Hopkins on May 29. Sports Illustrated Matt Verderame agreed, listing the Lions as one of five possibly landing spots for the veteran receiver.
Even before his release, CBS Sports’ Cody Benjamin identified the Lions as a potential trade destination for Hopkins.
In 10 NFL seasons, Hopkins has recorded 853 receptions for 11,298 yards and 71 touchdowns. From 2017-20, he was arguably the best receiver in the league, as he earned three first-team All-Pro nominations and four Pro Bowl appearances.
He recorded 1,100 receiving yards in all four of those campaigns.
Hopkins hasn’t reached 800 yards in either of the last two years, but that’s mainly because he hasn’t played a full season. He has missed 15 games since the start of 2021 because of injuries and a PED suspension.
As St. Brown noted, Hopkins is so talented that any team should love to have him. However, St. Brown also explained why he might not be the best fit in Detroit.
The Lions already have a pretty deep receiving core with St. Brown, Marvin Jones, Josh Reynolds and Kalif Raymond.
St. Brown didn’t even mention second-year wideout Jameson Williams. He will miss the first six games of 2023 because of a gambling suspension, but as a 2022 first-round pick, the Lions expect big things from him when he returns.
The last thing the Lions should want to do is sign Hopkins and take away valuable playing time from Williams.
Dan Campbell’s Response to Lions-Hopkins Rumors
All things considered, St. Brown gave a pretty typical response to NFL Network when asked about the Hopkins rumors. Campbell, though, took the opposite approach at OTAs.
“I’m not going to comment on that one, but I like our receiver room,” Campbell told the media when asked about Hopkins on June 1. “I think we have a good mix of different types of guys. I think it’s important, really in your skilled positions, between tight ends, backs and receivers, that you have a mix of different types of skillsets, and I feel like we have that.”
As talented as Hopkins is, the Lions could upset that chemistry with his addition. It’s a chemistry that not only Campbell sees but St. Brown also says he feels being in the team’s receiver room.
If the Lions do indeed sign a receiver this summer, it may be better to find one with a similar skill set as Williams. That receiver could play Williams’ snaps in the first six games without upsetting Detroit’s current mixture at wideout.
Hopkins wouldn’t be able to do that. Turning 31 on June 6, Hopkins is a possession receiver at this point in his career. Williams, though, is a burner with tremendous big-play speed.
As St. Brown said, it’s hard to deny Hopkins won’t help any team he joins. But for Detroit, there might be other receivers who are better fits for 2023.