The selection of T.J. Hockenson near the top of the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions was immediately met with mixed reactions. Tight end was certainly a position of need, and few players at the spot compared to Hockenson’s draft grade, but with plenty of holes on the roster, some questioned if this was really the best direction to go.
One big concern was that rookie tight ends rarely produce. For a team that some expected to compete for a playoff spot, it was disheartening to see the Lions choose a player that was more of a long-term investment. Meanwhile, those who did not see the roster so favorably could be a little more excited about what lies ahead in the future.
Since rookie tight ends are not yet fully developed, it can be difficult to truly assess the decision by the Lions to grab Hockenson. However, with the rookie’s season over thanks to injured reserve, it does become a natural time to reflect on his first year.
Today’s Question of the Day is:
How do you feel about the Lions’ selection of T.J. Hockenson?
My answer: I was not a big fan at the time of the draft because I felt like the defense had too many issues to ignore in the first round. I understood that the front office probably had Hockenson as its highest-graded player left on the board, but I just did not see it that way.
That being said, I do think Hockenson will be a great player someday. He has the skill set to be a meaningful contributor in both the run and pass games, and he showed glimpses of that at times this season. In some ways, his debut against Arizona did him no favors, as expectations surged following his 131-yard outing. There was no way that this production could continue, and he accumulated just 236 more yards and one more touchdown after Week 1.
Like Kerryon Johnson, it was frustrating to see another key draft pick struggle with injuries, so all we can do is hope that he will be healthy long-term. I would say I feel about the same about Hockenson as I did last spring, but given the current state of the defense, I feel worse about the pick. However, that is no fault of the young tight end.