The 2021 NFL Pro Bowl will look a little different this year as a virtual experience due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the league is still naming Pro Bowl teams, and the Lions have three representatives on this year's NFC team: Second-year tight end T.J. Hockenson, first-year punter Jack Fox and third-year center Frank Ragnow.
Hockenson, the No. 8 pick of the 2019 NFL draft, is having a breakout second season.
He has 60 receptions with 675 yards and six touchdowns on the year. He's third behind only Kansas City's Travis Kelce and Las Vegas' Darren Waller in receptions and receiving yards among all NFL tight ends. His six touchdowns are fifth most. Kelce, Waller and Hockenson are the only tight ends in the NFL this season with 50-plus receptions and six-plus touchdowns.
Hockenson said last month he's made his biggest strides as a route runner and is getting more separation from defenders in his second season.
"I think my routes, in particular, the last few weeks, just coming in and out of releases, getting some separation ... just doing that kind of stuff," Hockenson said last month.
"I'm starting to feel a little more comfortable, getting routes and seeing the coverages and seeing defenses and being able to get open. I think it's what I've tried to improve on each week."
After winning a contested punting battle in Lions training camp over Arryn Siposs, Fox has had a stellar first season with the Lions. He is currently second in the NFL with a net punting average of 45.3 yards, and his gross punting average of 49.3 yards is third best in the league. Fox's 27 punts of 50-plus yards are the second most among the league's punters. Opponents are averaging just 5.4 yards per punt return against Detroit this season, the third lowest mark in the league.
Ragnow, who is in his third season after coming to Detroit as a first-round pick out of Arkansas in 2018, is currently the second highest graded center by Pro Football Focus behind only Green Bay's Corey Linsley. In 571 pass-blocking reps this season, Ragnow has given up zero sacks and just one quarterback hit with a pass-blocking efficiency rating of 99.1 percent. He's also a road-grader in the run game, earning PFF's second highest grade among centers as a run blocker. Ragnow's also been called for just two penalties all year.
Ragnow played through a throat injury Week 14 and didn't miss a snap. He saw a specialist for the injury last week ahead of Detroit's contest in Tennessee, and was advised not to play. It was his first missed snaps of the season. Ragnow has proven to be a versatile interior lineman for the Lions, and is considered one of the best young centers in the game today.