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Lions Select Iowa TE T.J. Hockenson with the 8th Pick in the NFL Draft

The Lions made a major upgrade at the tight end spot on Thursday night, as the team picked Iowa TE T.J. Hockenson with the 8th overall pick.

Here’s highlights of the Iowa TE

And a scouting report on Hockenson:

Strengths:

Excellent blocker
Developed blocking technique
Big frame
Leaping ability
Red-zone weapon
Reliable hands
Soft hands
Quick down the seam
Mismatch weapon
Too fast for linebackers and some safeties
Too big for safeties to cover
Dangerous run-after-the-catch skills
Breaks tackles downfield; gets yards after contact
Tough to get on the ground
Tracks the ball well
Athletic
Fast for a tight end
Adjusts well to the ball
Good route-runnner
Finds the soft spots in zone coverage
Fearless in the middle of the field

Weaknesses:

Adequate speed, but not overwhelming
Good, but not great, athlete

Summary: Teammate Noah Fant entered the 2018 season with more hype, but it was Hockenson who became the star tight end for the Hawkeyes. While splitting targets with Fant, Hockenson totaled 49 receptions for 760 yards with six touchdowns. Both then entered the 2019 NFL Draft and have early-round potential, but Hockenson’s excellent 2018 season vaulted him to being the top tight end for the 2019 NFL Draft.

As a blocker, Hockenson is special. He is like an extra offensive lineman with his ability to tie up and handle defenders. He has size and strength, and should be able to win his blocks at the NFL level as well. Hockenson gives a relentless effort and displays excellent technique. His blocking should improve with pro coaching, but he enters the NFL as a plus blocker and significantly better than most receiving tight end prospects.

Hockenson has mismatch potential for the passing game. With his quickness and athleticism, Hockenson will be tough for linebackers to cover, and his size is problematic for safeties. Hockenson does a nice job of using his frame to shield defenders from the ball and win on contested catches. He also has reliable hands and is dangerous after the catch. He runs through tackles and picks up yards after contact downfield. In the open field, Hockenson will hurdle defensive backs, but he may want to be careful about doing that in the NFL or he will be putting his body in a vulnerable situation.


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