The good: It was a breakout second season for Lions 2019 first-round pick T.J. Hockenson, who set career highs with 67 receptions, 723 yards and six touchdowns. Hockenson proved to be a huge weapon in Detroit's offense in 2020, and he earned his first career Pro Bowl nod.
Hockenson has proven to be a versatile player who can line up all over the formations, and also provide something as a blocker in the run and pass game. Hockenson allowed one sack and three total pressures all season as a pass blocker.
Though it was a small sample size because of injury, rookie Hunter Bryant showed an ability to get down the field and make big catches, something he showed early in training camp before a hamstring injury and concussion limited him to only five games. He had a 44-yard reception in the loss to Tennessee Week 15 that really showed his ability to stretch the field from the tight end position. If healthy, hopefully he can take a big leap in production in 2021.
The bad: Hockenson was credited with dropping seven passes this season, which was on the high end for tight ends. He also lost a critical fumble in the loss to Tennessee Week 15.
The Lions signed Jesse James as a free agent in 2019. He caught just 16 passes for 142 yards with no touchdowns that season. The season before, James caught just 14 passes for 129 yards, though he did get into the end zone twice. It's really been the Hockenson show at tight end for the Lions the last two seasons, and that's limited James' production significantly.
Key stat: Hockenson finished fourth among NFL tight ends in receptions, third in yards and ninth in touchdowns.
Free agents: All of Detroit's tight ends are under contract for the 2021 season. Led by Hockenson, it's a group that has varying skill sets and some versatility, though the Lions would certainly like to get more out of James given his contract.
Draft: After taking Hockenson with the No. 8 overall pick in 2019 and watching him develop into a Pro Bowler in his second season, tight end doesn't seem like a position high on the priority list for new GM Brad Holmes this offseason. That's not to say Detroit couldn't add depth later in the draft.
Florida's Kyle Pitts is at the top of the position in this year's draft, and is a likely first-round pick.
Some other names to monitor in the pre-draft process at tight end are: Pat Freiermuth (Penn State), Brevin Jordan (Miami) and Hunter Long (Boston College).
MVP: The clear choice is Hockenson. It should be fun to continue to watch his development. He took huge leaps in production in year two. What will year three and a new offensive system do for Hockenson's production in 2021?
Quotable: "I liked him coming out (of Iowa) a lot," new Lions head coach Dan Campbell told detroitlions.com of Hockenson. "I think he's versatile. I know he did a heck of a job last year and I think he has tremendous upside."