Despite all of the defensive talent available in the 2019 NFL Draft, the Detroit Lions decided to inject some talent into their offense with the eighth overall pick by selecting T.J. Hockenson of the Iowa Hawkeyes.
While some fans may instantly reject this pick—memories of the team selecting Eric Ebron over Aaron Donald in 2015 are still fresh in the minds of many—Hockenson has a lot to offer to the Lions.
First, Hockenson was clearly the safest pick at eight. Houston defensive tackle Ed Oliver did not produce anywhere near expectations in 2018; and while Florida State’s Brian Burns has a ceiling as high as anyone, his small stature and trouble in run defense also leave him with a low floor.
There are no obvious flaws to point out in Hockenson’s game. While the biggest criticism of him seems to be his lack of long speed, he still has average speed for a player in his position. He is a great route runner and strong receiver at the point of attack. He is also a great blocker on the edge.
Hockenson is an incredible athletic specimen as well, posting a Relative Athletic Score of 9.21 at the NFL Combine.
With the 8th pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, the #Lions select T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa.— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) April 26, 2019
T.J. Hockenson posted a Elite #RAS with Good size, Good speed, Elite explosiveness, Great agility at the TE position. pic.twitter.com/VnW94XcChS
Hockenson will join newly signed Jesse James as a great 1-2 punch for Detroit at the tight end position. Expect Detroit to line up in 12 personnel often next season to fully take advantage of the huge injection of talent they put into the tight end position this spring.
Grade the Detroit Lions’ pick of T.J. Hockenson
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