The NFL released the early leaders for Pro Bowl voting at every position in the NFC on Wednesday, and T.J. Hockenson is currently the leading vote getter at the tight end position with 54,312 votes. Kansas City's Travis Kelce is the AFC's leading vote getter at tight end with 127,868 votes.
Last year's No. 8 overall pick in the NFL Draft, Hockenson has been very consistent in his second season. He leads the Lions in receptions (45) and receiving yards (530), and is tied for the team lead with five touchdown grabs after posting five receptions for 89 yards in Detroit's Thanksgiving Day loss to Houston. Thursday was the eighth game this season Hockenson has recorded at least four catches and his seventh game with at least 50 receiving yards.
He was the best tight end in the 2019 NFL Draft class coming out of Iowa. He had an up-and-down rookie campaign that ended prematurely due to an ankle injury. Hockenson was expected to take a big leap in production heading into this season, and that's come to fruition. He has 13 more catches, 163 more yards and three more touchdowns in 11 games this year than he had in 12 games as a rookie.
He's also become one of quarterback Matthew Stafford's favorite targets this year. His 68 targets are just one behind Marvin Jones Jr. for the team lead. His 530 receiving yards through the first 11 games of this season rank as the second most a Lions tight end (Brandon Pettigrew) has ever produced through the first 11 games of a season.
Hockenson is currently second among tight ends in receiving yards, third in receptions and fifth in touchdown receptions. His 29 catches resulting in a first down are the third most among tight ends, trailing only Kelce and Oakland's Darren Waller.
Simply put, Hockenson has quickly emerged as one of the bright young tight end talents in today's NFL.