Detroit Lions quick study: Predicting T.J. Hockenson’s second year

T.J. Hockenson, Detroit Lions (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
T.J. Hockenson, Detroit Lions (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /
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T.J. Hockenson, Detroit Lions
T.J. Hockenson, Detroit Lions (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

Second-year comparisons

Looking at the second year of our test group of elite tight ends shows that cumulatively, they amassed 5,685 yards receiving on 401 receptions, producing 45 touchdowns. That averages out to 947.5 yards, on 66.8 receptions, and 7.5 touchdowns. We can all agree that would be a very good increase, more than doubling production in one year.

Breaking that down by player & stats (quarterback(s) during that season):

George Kittle: 88 catches, 1,377 yards, 5 TD’s           (Jimmy Garoppolo/ Nick Mullens/ C.J. Beathard)
Ron Gronkowski: 90 catches, 1,327 yards , 17 TD’s (Tom Brady)
Travis Kelce: 67 catches, 862 yards, 5 TD’s                 (Alex Smith)
Mark Andrews: 64 catches, 852 yards, 10 TD’s         (Lamar Jackson)
Zach Ertz: 58 catches, 702 yards, 3 TD’s                     (Nick Foles/ Mark Sanchez)
O.J. Howard: 34 catches, 565 yards, 5 TD’s                 (Jameis Winston)

Obviously, the numbers vary by the situation as all players are ultra-talented. The Detroit Lions Hockenson has a veteran quarterback in Matthew Stafford who had a big year in the first half of the 2019 season. Stafford started with 2,499 yards, 64.3% completion percentage, 19 touchdowns, to just 5 interceptions and he went on the injured reserve list after just 8 games.

If Stafford had played the full 16 games, doubling his numbers, that would be 4,998 yards, 38 touchdowns, and10 interceptions. That’s a Pro-Bowl or All-Pro season if realized.

If we looked at this group and looked at a median (average the two in the middle) amount of production, we’d get a more subdued number, 65.5 receptions, 857 yards, and 7.5 touchdowns. This number takes a couple of huge numbers out of the equation and the low production near the bottom of the list.