Purdue’s ‘explosive’ Brycen Hopkins in conversation for first TE drafted

NFL Draft News
Brycen Hopkins

Ask 10 different draft analysts who the best tight end is in the 2020 NFL draft, and you might get 10 different answers.

That’s why Purdue’s Brycen Hopkins stands as good of a chance at being the first tight end drafted as anyone. Other tight ends in the first-in-his-class discussion include Notre Dame junior Cole Kmet, small-school prospect Adam Trautman of Dayton, Washington’s Hunter Bryant, Florida Atlantic’s Harrison Bryant and Missouri’s Albert Okwuegbunam. You can also throw in names like Vanderbilt’s Jared Pinkney and LSU’s Thaddeus Moss.

Of course, the tight end rankings will become clearer after the Scouting Combine (Feb. 23-March 2) and respective pro days, but for a class that’s been called relatively weak, there’s decent depth at the position.

Hopkins, meanwhile, has a legitimate shot at being the first tight end drafted. At 6-foot-5, 245 pounds, the redshirt senior is coming off a career season. He caught 61 passes for 830 yards and seven touchdowns in 2019, all career-highs, to give him career numbers of 130 receptions for 1,945 yards and 16 TDs. He also made the Senior Bowl roster, catching two passes for 19 yards in the game.

“Hopkins is a big-time playmaker on the field and is a receiver’s tight end in that aspect,” writes Blogging the Boys’ Michael Sisemore. “He’s very fluid and is more advanced as a route running tight end.”

Although considered a “dynamic playmaker vertically,” Sisemore says Hopkins “has issues staying engaged when the ball is not coming his way.”

“He’s also got a lot to learn in leverage blocking. For as good as he is between the 20’s, he tends to disappear in the red zone.”

With that said, Sisemore also called Hopkins an “explosive receiving tight end” who should get on the field early in his career.

Hopkins is the No. 101 overall prospect in the latest Fanspeak-Steve big board, which would rank him as Fanspeak’s fifth-best tight end in his draft class.