Position: Tight end
Ht/Wt: 6-5, 250
Experience: 2nd season
Outlook: After a rookie season filled with ups and downs that ultimately ended prematurely due to an ankle injury, the expectation is for second-year tight end T.J. Hockenson to take a big leap forward and be a more consistent threat in the Lions' offense.
Lions offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell told reporters this offseason he has to do a better job in his second season in Detroit of getting the tight ends more involved. Hockenson ended last season with 32 receptions for 367 yards and a couple scores. A good benchmark for Hockenson in his second season is to see all of those numbers at least double in 2020.
Hockenson worked with friend and All-Pro tight end George Kittle this offseason, and said his biggest takeaway from those workouts was how much fun Kittle has playing football and how he has to start having more fun playing the game.
Practice report: The Lions took part in a live scrimmage with tackling Saturday as coaches wanted to ramp up the competition with the regular-season opener just two weeks away.
Hockenson made a nice 9-yard reception down to the 26-yard line on a crossing route on the first-team offense's second series. The catch helped set up a field goal. He opened up the third series with a big gain on a nicely disguised tight end screen for about a 20-yard gain. The drive would end in a touchdown. Hockenson opened up the next series for the first-team offense with a short gainer to the right. That drive would also conclude with a touchdown.
Hockenson was pretty good blocking on the edge in the run game, and there were a couple times I noticed him open in the middle when the ball went outside for completions. Not a huge day for Hockenson in the scrimmage, but it was an efficient one.
Quotable: "Obviously, I'm the guy holding the ball before it goes anywhere, so if I can find those (tight ends) a little more, that would help them get going a little bit," quarterback Matthew Stafford said.
"But there's plenty of guys on this offense to feed, there's a bunch of good players and a bunch of talented guys on the outside. I'm just going to continue to do my thing to help us move the ball as well as I can and help us score points, but we definitely have playmakers that I can for sure get the ball to."