Indianapolis Colts linebacker Darius Leonard appears very happy that former Houston Texans superstar wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins has been traded to the Arizona Cardinals.
Of course, Hopkins—along with a 2020 4th round pick was traded to the Cardinals in a now infamous deal (and for the wrong reasons) that brought veteran running back David Johnson, a 2020 second round pick, and a 2021 4th round pick back to Houston.
Texans’ de facto general manager and head coach Bill O’Brien has made a series of puzzling moves in recent offseasons for Houston—but trading one of the league’s best wide receivers in his prime for such limited overall value tops the list.
Leonard, as a 2x All-Pro, had been squaring off against the 4x All-Pro Hopkins twice a season as divisional rivals—and the two had even had some one-on-one heavyweight matchups in coverage:
Putting a rookie linebacker on one of the most dangerous receivers in football.— Kevin Bowen (@KBowen1070) December 10, 2018
Can’t tell if that is insanity or just incredible belief in the talented Darius Leonard, covering in that small of a space. pic.twitter.com/ITUgljlJG2
However, Hopkins torched the Colts twice last season: Week 7 in Indy for 9 receptions for 106 receiving yards and a touchdown reception, and Week 12 in Houston for 6 receptions for 94 receiving yards and 2 touchdown receptions:
No matter how anyone slices it, having Hopkins out of Houston, is a major coup for the Colts defense—at least in the short-term, and one that should drastically help improve the team’s 2020 AFC South Title hopes and overall playoff odds.
Texans star quarterback Deshaun Watson will now no longer have Hopkins as his security blanket, as he has to trust his other wide receivers—meaning Leonard and the Colts defense could see much more of this in future matchups: