With the reigning Offensive Rookie of the Year behind centre and coming off an offseason hailed by many as one of the best in NFL, the Arizona Cardinals have plenty of people talking them up heading into 2020.
Including two of their most high-profile players.
Speaking Thursday on the “Jalen & Jacoby Show” on ESPN, DeAndre Hopkins left no doubt as to who he thinks is the best wide receiver in the NFL.
“I definitely think I’m the best,” Hopkins said. “I know I’m the best. Mike’s my boy. I love (Saints wide receiver) Michael (Thomas)... but he knows if I had (Saints quarterback) Drew Brees my whole career what these numbers would be.
“(Falcons wide receiver) Julio Jones knows if I had Matt Ryan my whole career... That’s my boy. I trained with Julio, too. He knows what these numbers would be.”
The Cardinals acquired Hopkins in a trade with the Houston Texans in March. He will join future Hall of Fame wideout Larry Fitzgerald and budding star Christian Kirk to give quarterback Kyler Murray one of the best receiving corps in the league.
Murray, the No 1 overall pick in 2019, threw for 3,722 yards with 20 touchdowns and 12 interceptions as a rookie, adding 544 yards and four scores on the ground.
“Going into this situation with a guy, a young quarterback, that I know is gonna be my quarterback for the future, is great,” said Hopkins, who caught touchdown passes from 10 different quarterbacks in his seven seasons with the Texans. “We’re able to build a chemistry, and hopefully, I’m able to play more than three seasons with a quarterback. I don’t think I’ve done that yet. So, I’m excited just to see how I’ll be able to play with a consistent quarterback.”
Hopkins also has familiarity with playing with a young quarterback, as his last three seasons in Houston were the first three in the career of Deshaun Watson. Hopkins was a first-team All-Pro in each of those seasons.
The player who likely will cover Hopkins throughout camp and practice — cornerback Patrick Peterson — held a near-hour-long Zoom news conference on Thursday, and he said his goal is to be named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2020.
“I’ve got a chip on my shoulder that’s bigger than it’s ever been,” Peterson said. “I can feel something special (coming).”
This season is the final one in Peterson’s contract.
“I feel I have something to prove,” he said. “This is going to be, I believe, an incredible, incredible year for me because the defence I believe is tailor-made for some of my strengths.”
Peterson is also coming off a season in which he missed the first six games because of a suspension for violating the league’s performance-enhancing drug policy and using a masking agent.
“For me to jump back into the thick of things, Superman maybe can do that, but I’m not Clark Kent,” Peterson said. “I might have some Superman moments or some Superman ways, but it just wasn’t happening for me. But once I got back in the groove, I felt unbelievable. And that’s what’s going to carry over to this year.
“I’m not really into, ‘Watch this (or) prove this.’ But I can promise you this: This is definitely going to be a big year. Just wait and see. To whoever doubting me or whoever don’t think I can still play at a high level, just wait and see.”
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