Detroit Lions: Will T.J. Hockenson meet expectations early on?

DETROIT, MICHIGAN - AUGUST 08: T.J. Hockenson #88 of the Detroit Lions look to block while playing the New England Patriots during a preseason game at Ford Field on August 08, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MICHIGAN - AUGUST 08: T.J. Hockenson #88 of the Detroit Lions look to block while playing the New England Patriots during a preseason game at Ford Field on August 08, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

How will the Detroit Lions’ tight end T.J. Hockenson fare in his rookie campaign? Will he meet expectations or will he falter early on in his young career?

In the 2019 NFL Draft, the Detroit Lions selected tight end T.J. Hockenson in the first-round with the eighth overall pick. The young tight end was widely expected to be off the board in the first round by multiple draft analysts was instantly pegged to be a star by many. The bar has been set very high for the young man and he is expected to be an impact from day one.

Fans of the Lions were initially torn with the selection of Hockenson in the first-round. Some didn’t want anything to do with a tight end that early in the draft. His talent and ability were obvious, but the fanbase had thought the same thing once before.

In 2009 Detroit had selected another first-round tight end out of Oklahoma State, Brandon Pettigrew. Pettigrew was supposed to be a godsend at the tight end position. This turned out to be false, to say the least. Pettigrew was slightly below average all the way around the position. The first-round tight end was a bust.

Fast forward a few years and the Lions would select another first-round tight end, Eric Ebron out of North Carolina in the 2014 NFL Draft. Just like Pettigrew, his talent and ability were well known and he was to be a huge star in the Motor City. Instead, Ebron turned into a drop machine. Perhaps quarterback Matthew Stafford was just throwing the ball too hard for him in Detroit? I’m just going to go with that because he sure couldn’t catch a ball in Detroit.

With past failures mounting at the position, why believe the story will be any different with T.J. Hockenson? That’s simple… Hockenson is his own man with his own story. He is not picking up where Pettigrew and Ebron left off but rewriting the narrative. Hockenson plays a different game and is abundantly better in every aspect of the position. That’s quite clear already and the Lions are still going through training camp. With that said, here is my take on the rookie tight end…

In my own opinion, the Detroit Lions have struck gold in Hockenson. Gold? Did I really just say gold? This kid is going platinum, what am I thinking? He has shown his rare ability in both the blocking and passing games through nearly every practice. The rookie tight end has made his presence known on the field in the preseason as well. There is no reason to question whether he will meet the hype. It already appears as if he is ahead of the curve.

Hockenson’s blocking is astounding and his receiver skills may be even better. His routes are clean, he knows how to get open, and his hands are sticky. Regardless of where he lines up, he is extremely effective. This young man will be a force for years to come.

I believe he will not only meet expectations but surpass them by a long shot. This is not a player that fans will have to wait on to emerge either. Hockenson is going to be a big problem for opposing defenses early and often.

Hockenson is going to open up some nice running lanes with his powerful and skillful blocking. He will also have plenty of opportunity in the red zone that he will surely take advantage of. The Lions will use him as a decoy in the middle of the field in order to hit the outside receivers down the field and open up running backs on passing routes as well.

T.J. Hockenson will be dominant in this league. Mark my words. The real question surrounding Hockenson should be how far will he surpass expectations? The Detroit Lions rookie tight end has already shown so much, but in all reality, we haven’t seen anything yet!

I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if Hockenson takes home offensive rookie of the year and becomes a top 10 tight end by the end of his rookie campaign and neither should you. He already looks to be better than Detroit has had at the position since the great Charlie Sanders and the season hasn’t even kicked off yet.

It may not always show up on the box score, but Hockenson will be a huge factor in every game. His ability to block will be used often, but it should not go unnoticed. His superb play in the run game and the attention he will attract from defenses will make everyone around him better, from the wide receivers to the running backs and even the guy under center.

Detroit Lions fans, go ahead and get excited about your 2019 first-round selection if you haven’t already. Hockenson has hit the ground running and he is gaining speed every day. With this level of talent, awareness, athleticism, strength, football IQ, and ability to learn quickly, there is no way Hockenson turns into a bust. The Detroit Lions have found the next great tight end in the NFL and he will be uncaged immediately in 2019.

Next. The slightly too early Lions All-Decade Offense. dark

Please, feel free to leave your thoughts and opinions on the Detroit Lions’ T.J. Hockenson and/or your thoughts and opinions on my own take down below in the comments section. I would love to see what you think!