Embed from Getty Images The first stretch of the 2019 Detroit Lions training camp could not have been much more promising for T.J. Hockenson the Lions first round pick out of Iowa. Yet, rookie tight ends usually need time to develop.
As a pass-catcher, T.J. Hockenson is exceeding the high expectations that come with being a top ten draft pick . He runs routes to all depths and has showcased outstanding hands and body control. Working confined spacing, Hockenson is getting quality separation on his routes and catching everything thrown his direction. He has owned the back corner of the end zone on flag patterns.
The Lions are planning on going to two tight ends and a fullback in the red zone. Given tight end Jesse James and Hockenson, quarterback Matthew Stafford will have plenty of options. Big targets, with great hands. Something Detroit has lacked for some time out of the tight end position.
Through five days of training camp T.J. Hockenson is yet to drop a pass. That should come as no surprise. With the Iowa Hawkeyes, Hockenson had 1 dropped pass in three years as a starter.
T.J. Hockenson is a sneaky athlete who has the speed and quickness to stretch the middle of the field from the tight end position. He is often compared to former New England Patriots tight end and future NFL Hall of Fame member Rob Gronkowski. A lofty comparison to be sure. Yet, Hockenson is living up to the billing.
T.J. Hockenson is a match up nightmare. He approaches linebackers and defensive backs the same and he comes down with the ball. Hockenson is also strong in running after catch and also as a tight end is an elite blocker.
One NFL scout said this about T.J. “T.J. Hockenson is gonna be a problem in the red zone. When they were able to clear out space and get him to the back corner, he was basically unguardable. Impressive start.”
It would be one thing if the rookie tight end did it one or two times. But Hockenson is routinely making big play after big play. The Detroit Lions appear to have finally found a tight end who can be a game-changer.