Analytics have become a large part of the debate about player ability and rankings in the NFL.
Long a behind the scenes type of work, Pro Football Focus and Football Outsiders have steered the conversation to the mainstream and made analytical analysis more available.
Now, we even see the idea at the forefront of NFL columns on NFL.com.
Cynthia Frelund wrote about her 2019 NFL All-Analytics team and while no Arizona Cardinals made it from the past season, one new Cardinal was among the group.
Arizona Cardinals · Seasons: 7
Texans QB Deshaun Watson is going to miss my model’s highest-rated on- and off-ball receiver from 2019. Hopkins, who was traded from Houston to Arizona this offseason, ranked third in receiving first downs with 68 (only Michael Thomas and Julio Jones had more). Interestingly, almost half of those came on second down (30), and 19 of those were earned on second-and-7-plus yards (the most in the NFL).
Hopkins is one of the games premier players, but his work is not just about his counting stats that have made him one of the most productive receivers of the 2010’s.
No, he has consistently been efficient and effective in important spots and will give Kyler Murray a target that he lacked as a rookie.
Hopkins will do as much for the growth of Murray as Murray can do for the longevity of Hopkins career.
They could well develop a relationship that we see play out over the course of 5-8 years and puts Hopkins into the top 10 to top 5 of receivers All-Time.
This could be one of the best deals made by Steve Keim in his time as GM.