DeAndre Hopkins has already mocked the Houston Texans for trading him for only a second-round pick, and the Arizona Cardinals receiver now believes new Tennessee Titans wideout Julio Jones could have a chance to do the same with the Atlanta Falcons.
The Titans recently acquired Jones and a 2023 sixth-round pick while sending a second-round selection and a conditional 2023 fourth-rounder to the Falcons, who saved $15.3 million in cap space with the move. Hopkins thinks teams have misjudged two of football's top veteran pass-catchers.
"That we're not worth first-round picks, that the first-round picks are better than us; I would like to see a first-round pick who could do what Julio and myself do," Hopkins said Wednesday of his reaction to the Jones trade, per Katherine Fitzgerald of azcentral sports.
In March 2020, the Texans sent Hopkins and a 2020 fourth-round pick to the Cardinals in exchange for running back David Johnson, a 2020 second-round selection, and a 2021 fourth-rounder.
Hopkins, who was coming off his third straight All-Pro campaign at the time, shined in his first year in Arizona. He led the team with 115 receptions, 1,407 yards, and six touchdowns.
"The receiver groups coming out of college are a little bit more advanced than I was back in my days, even though I only had, like, however many touchdowns, 15 or so touchdowns," said Hopkins, who caught 18 touchdowns in his last year at Clemson before being selected 27th overall in 2013.
"You've got guys like (Minnesota Vikings first-round wide receiver) Justin Jefferson who came in balling as a rookie. So there's definitely some guys that can do what Julio and myself do. But I'm surprised. I know I was only coming off a first-team All-Pro, so I kind of figured I might only go for a second-round (pick). But I was surprised a guy like Julio would only go for a second-rounder."
Jones missed seven games due to injury and was held to just 771 yards and three scores last season, but he's been arguably the NFL's best receiver since entering the league as the No. 6 pick in 2011.
The seven-time Pro Bowler's game average of 96.1 receiving yards is the highest in pro football history among players with at least 200 receptions.