DeAndre Hopkins is a very good receiver. We know this. When he was traded to the Arizona Cardinals over the offseason by the Houston Texans, the assumption was that he would fit in quite nicely into Kliff Kingsbury's air-it-out offense and would help Kyler Murray make the sophomore jump that talented, highly-drafted quarterbacks are expected to make.
But I don't think even the most optimistic projections had Hopkins doing what he's doing so far. Hopkins has 32 catches in three games. 32! His first game in a Cardinals uniform, he caught 14 passes for 151 yards. In his second, he "only" caught eight balls for 68 yards, and then he tore up the Lions this past Sunday with 10 catches for 137 yards. He has more room to operate than he ever did in Bill O'Brien's offense, and he has an offensive guru head coach working with an extraordinarily talented quarterback to make sure he gets his.
You don't really need a calculator to realize that Hopkins is on pace to easily break the single-season receptions record, set by Michael Thomas last year after he caught 149 passes from Drew Brees. If Hopkins continues on this run, he'll finish the season with around 170 catches.
What makes it even more impressive is that nobody who came close to breaking the single-season receiving record started their seasons like this. Thomas had 25 catches through the first three weeks of the 2019 season. Marvin Harrison, previous holder of this record after notching 143 catches in the 2002 season, only had 23 receptions in three weeks. Antonio Brown, who recorded 136 catches in 2015, had 29 catches through three weeks that year.
Really, the only player who has done what Hopkins is doing right now and managed to continue on a similar pace was one Julio Jones, who also caught 136 balls in 2015. He had an astounding 34 catches in the first three games of his season that year. It took him five weeks after that to record his next 34 receptions. As it turns out, it is very difficult to average over 10 catches per game, even for someone built like a Greek god like Julio.
But three weeks from now, we may be even more in awe of what Hopkins is doing. The Cardinals are playing the Panthers, Jets, and Cowboys over the next three weeks. None of those three teams have good secondaries, and in the case of the Jets and Cowboys, their cornerback groups are actually quite poor. From where we're sitting right now, the only thing that could stop Hopkins from recording double-digit catches several times in the next month is if the Cardinals beat these teams too badly and end up running the ball for a good chunk of the game.
Hopkins has been a beast, and the schedule presents favorable matchups for him with very few lockdown cornerbacks throughout. He could easily destroy the single-season reception record if he stays healthy and this offense keeps clicking. It'll be fun to watch.