T.J. Hockenson had a fairly disappointing rookie season, even when taking into account the long history of first-year struggles for tight ends. After exploding onto the scene with a record-breaking debut, Hockenson only managed 236 receiving yards in the other 11 games before suffering a severe ankle injury on Thanksgiving.
Expectations for Hockenson’s second year, however, are extremely high, and it’s not just people in Detroit claiming that. ESPN’s Field Yates listed 13 second-year players he thinks could be breakout fantasy players in 2020, and Hockenson was one of two tight ends to make his list.
“He was targeted on over 21% of his routes as a rookie and spent a large portion of his season with backup quarterbacks filling in for an injured Matthew Stafford,” Yates said of Hockenson’s rookie season. “Stafford’s return bodes well for all Lions pass-catchers, with Hockenson’s star potential being difficult to ignore. His final season at Iowa was one of the most impressive for any college tight end over the past decade, as he averaged 15.6 YPC on 46 grabs and scored six times. Bet on the talent here.”
Hockenson’s flashes last year were hard to ignore, but there should be at least a little caution about his 2020 season given how 2019 ended. As of just a month ago, offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said Hockenson was not quite 100 percent healed from the ankle injury that had the Lions tight end on a scooter for at least a month. Though we’ve seen Hockenson run routes since, there is no guarantee he’ll be in football shape when the Lions open camp in the next couple weeks.
Either way, given that he’s entering Year 2 after being taken eighth overall, a jump in production should be in the cards for Hockenson.
- The Athletic (subscription required) has an excellent statistical breakdown of the 2020 Detroit Lions called “A football nerd’s guide to the 2020 Detroit Lions.” Here’s a small taste:
The Lions’ overall performance pointed to a team that should have won more than three games. Detroit was 3-8 in one-score games and performed more like a six-win team. They ranked 24th in injury luck and 22nd in fumble luck and were 10th in special teams efficiency.
- Several Lions players, including Matthew Stafford, will be a part of a panel on Tuesday night at 6 p.m. discussing the importance of voter education and registration. Here’s more information, but check the Lions Twitter account for a live stream:
Tune in tonight at 6pm ET for a live stream with Matthew Stafford, @III_Flowers and @dharm32 joining a virtual voter education and registration town hall with Secretary of State @JocelynBenson hosted by @RISEtoWIN. #InspireChange pic.twitter.com/41yeBvSF8q— Detroit Lions (@Lions) July 21, 2020
- With the preseason likely cancelled, MLive’s Kyle Meinke lists four ways the Lions are going to be negatively impacted by the lack of scrimmages.
- In just his second year in Detroit, Lions running back coach Kyle Caskey has created a foundation to improve the local community. Let’s just say you’re going to want to keep a close eye on this foundation in the next couple weeks:
.@NFLBombShell and I are so excited to announce the official launch of the @CaskeyFamilyFnd— Kyle Caskey (@CoachKyleCaskey) July 21, 2020
Please follow and keep updated with some exciting initiatives we have coming up soon. https://t.co/42FmqVFH6Q
- Where are the Lions spending the most money on their roster? Erik Schlitt of Lions Wire breaks it down by position.
Please. Wear. A. Mask. So. We. Can. Play. pic.twitter.com/S0Qs2cr7Ka— Detroit Lions (@Lions) July 21, 2020
- A little humor to end today’s Notes: