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Austin Hooper

Cleveland Browns
Tight End #81
Cleveland Browns
Tight End #81
Photo: Icon Sportswire

Austin Hooper News

Captures three targets

Hooper caught all three targets for 27 yards in Sunday's 33-29 loss to the Chiefs.

Analysis: Cleveland's reputation for a tight-end happy offense didn't disappoint Week 1, as the threesome of Hooper, David Njoku and Harrison Bryant combined for 10 targets. Hooper was targeted once in the red zone. Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski talked during the preseason about expanding Hooper's role, but that did not materialize in the season opener. If anything, it was Njoku (five targets, three catches, 76 yards) who staked a claim as Cleveland's top receiving tight end.

Sep 13, 2021 5:44 AM EST


Could expand role in Year 2

Coach Kevin Stefanski said he'll expand Hooper's role this year, Mary Kay Cabot of The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports. "We're going to grow [Hooper's] role,'' Stefanski said last week. "He really understands now in Year 2 how we plan to use him, and again, I do believe his role can grow."

Analysis: Hooper was disappointing in fantasy last year, but he had a better season from Stefanski's standpoint, with solid blocking helping the team's prolific rushing attack while a late flurry of receiving production contributed to a playoff appearance. He's now locked in as a starter for the second season of a four-year, $42 million contract, but regardless of his coach's intentions, there's no guarantee of improvement on Hooper's 2020 average of 5.4 targets per game. The Browns also have David Njoku and Harrison Bryant at tight end, not to mention WR Odell Beckham returning from an ACL tear as well as Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt gobbling up volume from the backfield. On the other hand, Hooper does have plenty of room to improve his efficiency after posting career lows for both catch rate (65.7 percent) and yards per target (6.2) last season. He had a 77.3 percent catch rate and 8.1 YPT in four years with the Falcons, highlighted by a breakout 2019 in which he averaged 60.5 receiving yards per game while sharing the field with WRs Calvin Ridley and Julio Jones.

Aug 13, 2021 12:10 PM EST



Has off-day Sunday

Hooper dropped at least three passes during Cleveland's two-minute drills Sunday, Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.

Analysis: Quarterback Baker Mayfield was unable to score point with the first team offense against the second-team defense, partly due to Hooper's inability to hold on to some passes. He also had a pass broken up in one-on-one drills by a third-string cornerback. The Mayfield-Hooper combination worked out together during the offseason, and their chemistry should improve. Hooper remains the top tight end, ahead of David Njoku and Harrison Bryant.

Aug 9, 2021 4:38 AM EST


Returns from illness

Hooper (illness) returned to practice Friday, Zac Jackson of The Athletic reports.

Analysis: Hooper was out for only one or two days. He was disappointing for fantasy managers last season, unable to overcome the challenge of joining a new team with a new coaching staff in a year without spring practices or preseason games. However, Hooper had a better year from the Browns' standpoint, with competent blocking helping the team's prolific rushing attack and a late flurry of receiving production contributing to a playoff appearance. He's locked in as a starter for the second season of a four-year, $42 million contract, but there's no guarantee of improvement on his 2020 average of 5.4 targets per game, considering the Browns also have David Njoku and Harrison Bryant at tight end, not to mention WR Odell Beckham returning from an ACL tear. On the other hand, Hooper does have plenty of room to improve his efficiency after posting career lows for both catch rate (65.7 percent) and yards per target (6.2) last season. He had a 77.3 percent catch rate and 8.1 YPT in four years with the Falcons.

Aug 6, 2021 1:10 PM EST


Missed Wednesday's session

Hooper did not participate in practice Wednesday due to illness,Andrew Gribble of the Browns' official site reports.

Analysis: There's been little news out of camp about the tight ends, but the depth chart should remain the same entering the 2021 season. Hooper will top the chart followed by Harrison Bryant and David Njoku, in that order.

Aug 4, 2021 6:15 PM EST



Improving chemistry with Mayfield

Hooper and QB Baker Mayfield should have better chemistry in their second season together, according to Mary Kay Cabot of The Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Analysis: Hooper was disappointing for fantasy managers last season, unable to overcome the challenge of joining a new team with a new coaching staff in a year without spring practices or preseason games. He had a better year from the Browns' standpoint, with competent blocking helping the team's prolific rushing attack and a late flurry of receiving production contributing to a playoff appearance. Hooper is locked in as a starter for the second season of a four-year, $42 million contract, but there's no guarantee of improvement on his 2020 average of 5.4 targets per game, considering the Browns also have David Njoku and Harrison Bryant at tight end, not to mention WR Odell Beckham returning from an ACL tear. On the other hand, Hooper does have plenty of room to improve his efficiency after posting career lows for both catch rate (65.7 percent) and yards per target (6.2) last season. He had a 77.3 percent catch rate and 8.1 YPT in four years with the Falcons.

Jul 27, 2021 8:50 AM EST


Secures TD in playoff win

Hooper secured seven of his 11 targets for 46 yards and a touchdown during Sunday night's 48-37 wild-card win against the Steelers.

Analysis: Hooper notched a seven-yard TD catch with 34 seconds remaining in the second quarter to push Cleveland's lead back to four possessions before the halftime break. Baker Mayfield looked the tight end's way again in a key third-down goal-line situation in the fourth quarter, but Steelers defensive back Terrell Edmunds disrupted the pass to cause an incompletion. After registering just one TD over his first eight games as a Brown, Hooper has scored in four of six appearances heading into a divisional-round matchup against Kansas City.

Jan 10, 2021 9:40 PM EST


Scores fourth TD

Hooper caught four of five targets for 37 yards and a touchdown in Sunday's 24-22 win over Pittsburgh.

Analysis: Hooper, who scored for the third time in five weeks, now has four touchdown receptions for the season. He's been a big part of the passing attack the last three weeks, catching 17 of 26 targets for 149 yards and two TDs during that span. With the win, the Browns clinched a playoff spot and will head to Pittsburgh next week for a Wild Card weekend matchup.

Jan 3, 2021 5:46 PM EST


Leading receiver in Week 16 loss

Hooper caught seven of 15 targets for 71 yards in Sunday's 23-16 loss to the Jets.

Analysis: Hooper caught a ball on the game's first play, foreshadowing his heavy involvement against a Jets defense that has been the league's most generous to opposing tight ends. The veteran tight end led the Browns in targets, catches and receiving yards as the team played without its top four wide receivers due to a late-week COVID-19 outbreak. Hooper's unlikely to find as much success in Week 17 against the stingy Steelers defense, especially if he slides back down in the pecking order due to the return of some sidelined receiving options.

Dec 27, 2020 2:07 PM EST


Rises to top target Sunday

With several receivers landing non the COVID-19 list, Hooper is expected to be a primary target for Sunday's game against the Jets, Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.

Analysis: Cleveland will be without wideouts Jarvis Landry, Rashard Higgins, KhaDarel Hodge and Donovan Peoples-Jones, all of whom were close contacts of linebacker B.J. Goodson, who tested positive for the virus. The development reduces the number of known targets for quarterback Baker Mayfield, who will throw to a crew of untested wideouts in Marvin Hall, Ja'Marcus Bradley and Derrick WIllies. That means known commodities such as Hooper, David Njoku, Harrison Bryant, Kareem Hunt and Nick Chubb will be prominent in the passing attack. Hooper's 50 targets are the most among the group that will be available Sunday.

Dec 27, 2020 3:13 AM EST


Returns with big game

Hooper (neck) caught five passes (six targets) for 41 yards and a touchdown in Sunday's 20-6 win over the Giants.

Analysis: Hooper missed last week's incredible contest against the Ravens with a neck injury, but he was able to get in on the scoring parade -- albeit a little late -- with a touchdown of his own against the Giants. The 26-year-old will resume his role as the team's top tight end, but he certainly has underwhelmed after signing a massive contract with Cleveland this past offseason. That said, Baker Mayfield has elevated his performance in recent weeks, so it wouldn't be surprising to see Hooper heat up as a byproduct down the stretch.

Dec 20, 2020 11:44 PM EST


Suiting up Week 15

Hooper (neck) is active for Sunday's road game versus the Giants, Jake Trotter of ESPN.com reports.

Analysis: Hooper started Week 15 prep with back-to-back limited listings before capping it with a full session, but the Browns still gave him a questionable designation. It's not a huge surprise considering he sat out Week 14 with a neck injury, but now that he's back in the lineup he should slot back in as the team's No. 1 running back. Having said that, Hooper hasn't surpassed three catches or 40 yards since Week 6, a span of four appearances.

Dec 20, 2020 4:08 PM EST


Gets questionable tag for Week 15

The Browns list Hooper (neck) as questionable for Sunday's game against the Giants, Zac Jackson of The Athletic reports.

Analysis: Though Hooper put in a full practice Friday, it wasn't enough for him to enter the weekend minus an injury designation. The Browns may have just deemed Hooper questionable as a matter of caution after his neck issue prevented him from playing in the Week 14 loss to the Ravens. Hooper hasn't experienced any reported setbacks with his neck while increasing his practice activity throughout the week, so the prevailing expectation is that he'll be ready to step into his usual role as Cleveland's top tight end once Sunday arrives.

Dec 18, 2020 11:16 AM EST


Another limited session

Hooper (neck) remained listed as limited on Thursday's practice report, Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal reports.

Analysis: It remains to be seen if Hooper approaches Sunday's game against the Giants listed as questionable, or free from a Week 15 injury designation, but if he does return to action this weekend, it would cut into the snap/target share of both Harrison Bryant and David Njoku.

Dec 17, 2020 12:48 PM EST


Logs limited practice

Hooper (neck) was limited at practice Wednesday, Mary Kay Cabot of The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.

Analysis: Hooper was inactive this past Monday against the Ravens, but the tight end's return to practice Wednesday -- albeit in a limited capacity -- bodes well for his chances of rejoining the Browns' lineup Sunday against the Giants.

Dec 16, 2020 3:10 PM EST


Resumes practicing

Hooper (neck) returned to practice Wednesday, Jake Trotter of ESPN.com reports.

Analysis: Hooper sat out Cleveland's last two practices before being made inactive this past Monday versus the Ravens. The tight end's return to practice Wednesday, be it limited or full, has him trending in the right direction in advance of this weekend's contest against the Giants.

Dec 16, 2020 10:41 AM EST


Hope for Week 15 return

Coach Kevin Stefanski hopes Hooper (neck) will be back for Sunday's road game against the Giants, Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal reports.

Analysis: Hooper capped Week 14 prep with no reps on back-to-back injury reports, the result of a neck issue. Ulrich later noted Hooper's health concern wasn't believed to be serious, but the tight end still sat out Monday's loss to the Ravens. That assessment will be telling if Hooper is listed as full or limited on Wednesday's practice report, but in any case his listing there will give a sense of his ability to play Week 15.

Dec 15, 2020 9:32 AM EST


Not playing Monday

Hooper (neck) is listed as inactive Monday versus the Browns.

Analysis: In advance of this game, Hooper kicked off Week 14 prep with no limitations but was added to the injury report Friday as a non-participant due to a neck concern. He's had no activity since then, and while the issue isn't believed to be serious -- per Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal -- the Browns will keep Hooper on the sideline. In his stead, Harrison Bryant, David Njoku and Stephen Carlson will man tight end for Cleveland.

Dec 14, 2020 3:49 PM EST


Not expected to play Monday

Hooper (neck) isn't expected to play Monday night against the Ravens, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports.

Analysis: If Hooper is indeed out Monday, Harrison Bryant, David Njoku and Stephen Carlson, in that order, would be next up for the Browns' Week 14 tight end snaps.

Dec 13, 2020 9:35 AM EST


Injury not serious

Hooper's neck injury is not believed to be serious, Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal reports.

Analysis: Hooper sustained a neck injury during Thursday's practice and has not practiced in practices the two days since. He's officially listed as questionable for Monday's game against the Ravens, but it appears the injury will not sideline him for a significant period of time.

Dec 13, 2020 7:45 AM EST


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