Player: Tight end T.J. Hockenson, Iowa
Pick: Round 1, 8th overall
Ht./Wt.: 6-5, 251
Combine workout results: 4.70 40; 17 reps in the bench press; 37.5 vertical jump, 123 inches in the standing broad jump, good performance in agility tests.
Bio: Along with Noah Fant, one of two tight ends from Iowa who are first-round prospects this year. Hockenson has legitimate top 10 ability, as he showed in his production as a three-year player. He can be an every-down tight end because of his strong blocking to go with receiving skills. Plays faster than the 4.70 Combine 40 time. Produced as a true freshman in 2016 (24 catches, 3 TDs). Closed out career in 2018 with 49 catches, 15.5 yards per catch, six TDs.
From Chanton, Iowa, population a little more than 4,000, a player from a small town has a big role to play in an offense that was lacking impact at the tight end position last year.
Analyst’s take, Daniel Jeremiah NFL.com: “A fun player to watch ... he fights through press coverage and will stair-step defenders. Very physical after the catch. He tracks the ball naturally, and his high-point skills are on display in the red zone. Overall, Hockenson is one of the best blocking tight ends I’ve ever evaluated. He is a Day 1 impact player at the next level.”
Mike O’Hara’s take: The Lions need another tight end who can play in all situations, and Hockenson fills that need, and potentially at a high level. No need to overthink it. GM Bob Quinn followed his draft board – just like he said he would.
Tim Twentyman’s take: This has been a big need for the Lions and they got the best available tight end in this draft in Hockenson. He’s one of the best pass-blocking tight ends to enter the league in a long time, and also is a plus player in the passing game. He’s a perfect fit for new offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell’s offense.
Tight end depth chart: Back from last year are 2017 fourth-round draft pick Michael Roberts and Jerome Cunningham, who played one game in 2018.
Offseason additions: Jesse James, formerly of Pittsburgh, and Logan Thomas, formerly of the Bills, were signed as free agents.
View photos of tight end T.J. Hockenson.