Heading into Watson’s second NFL season, which the Houston Texans hope is a full and healthy one, Hopkins has high expectations.
“I expect us to be the best duo in the NFL,” Hopkins said. “That’s my goal. I’m pretty sure that’s his goal. And if we have all these goals for ourselves, that’s going to help the team get what we get to.”
They were well on their way to achieving that goal last season before Watson tore the ACL in his right knee. Over seven games, the quarterback threw for 19 touchdowns, with seven of them going to Hopkins. With Watson under center, Hopkins was on pace for 100 catches, 1,369 yards and 16 touchdowns, according to ESPN Stats & Information. To put that in perspective, only two players in NFL history have ever hit those three benchmarks in the same season: Cris Carter in 1995 and Randy Moss in 2003.
“It’s hard not to daydream what Deshaun can do with a full season under his belt,” Hopkins said. "[Before he got hurt] he was only getting better and better each week.”
The wide receiver posted a photo of the pair on Instagram earlier in the month, saying, “We’ll be back breaking records soon.”
“He wants to be great. I want to be great,” Hopkins said. “So if two people want to be great, pushing each other, the sky’s the limit of what him and I can do.”
Hopkins’ success was helped by a healthy Will Fuller, who caught seven touchdown passes in four games with Watson. On Tuesday, Hopkins predicted that if Fuller is healthy, “the sky’s the limit for him.”
“He’s fast, he’s getting stronger in the weight room, he’s actually dedicating his time toward football,” Hopkins said. “I think he’s going to have the best season.”
If Watson can replicate the success he had in a limited amount of time last season, the Texans could have one of the best offenses in the NFL.
“It’s very scary, the potential that we have,” Watson said. “We can do so many good things and we saw that last year in the short amount of time we had, but we just have to continue to be consistent.”
It will get harder for Watson, of course, as he not only recovers from a torn ACL but teams also have more NFL film on him. The former Clemson standout threw eight interceptions last season, but that total could have been more because of inconsistent decisions. There is still work for the 22-year-old quarterback to do.
Still, Watson said Hopkins has made him a better quarterback and he’s looking forward to what is to come in 2018.
“[Our potential] is through the roof. We’re as good as we think and the work that we put in,” Watson said. “We have a long way to go, but at the same time, we have that mindset that we want to break records together.”