Although the Detroit Lions chose an offensive weapon with their first-round selection, here’s why T.J. Hockenson is an unlikely Rookie of the Year candidate.
The Detroit Lions believed Iowa tight end T.J. Hockenson was worth selecting with the eighth overall selection in the 2019 NFL Draft. Being the first offensive player taken off the board that wasn’t a quarterback, some believe Hockenson could have a breakout season in the Motor City.
Although the young tight end might help the Lions put more W’s in the win column, here are three reasons why Hockenson is unlikely to be an Offensive Rookie of the Year candidate in Detroit.
#1 – History
As pointed out in a recent article by NFL.com, no tight end has ever won the Offensive Rookie of the Year Award. In fact, the recent winners have overwhelmingly been running backs, with first-year rushers winning the trophy four out of the past six years. The other two? Dallas Cowboys’ quarterback Dak Prescott (2016) and Cleveland Browns’ wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (2014).
#2 – Jesse James
The presence of James will undoubtedly leach opportunities away from Hockenson. And though that might be bad for individual accolades like the Rookie of the Year award, it could be great for the team as a whole.
In Pittsburgh last season, James caught 30 of his 39 targets for 423 yards and two touchdowns. His catch rate of 76.9% was the highest of his four-year career. James’ veteran presence gives Lions’ quarterback Matthew Stafford a much-needed security blanket and favorable size (6-7, 261) as an endzone threat.
#3 – Run-First Offense
One of the main reasons new offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell likely signed off on the drafting of a tight end in the first round of this year’s draft is because Hockenson is such a great run-blocker.
Essentially adding another offensive lineman to the mix in order to further balance out the Lions’ offense with a more effective rushing attack is exactly what Bevell seems to covet out of his scheme. Running the football will be a priority in Detroit this season, which doesn’t bode well for a rookie tight end’s receiving numbers.