Lions tight end T.J. Hockenson lands nice spot in his draft class ranking

Lions tight end T.J. Hockenson walks off the field after practice during minicamp on Thursday, June 9, 2022, in Allen Park.Lions
Lions tight end T.J. Hockenson walks off the field after practice during minicamp on Thursday, June 9, 2022, in Allen Park.Lions /

T.J. Hockenson was easy to tab as a reach in the 2019 NFL Draft, but the Lions’ tight end has landed a solid spot in a ranking (re-ranking?) of his draft class.

When the Detroit Lions took Iowa tight end T. J. Hockenson eighth overall in the 2019 NFL Draft, it was easy to say “What are they doing?” “A tight end in the top-10?” Being the Lions made the questions and skepticism easy.

Hockenson missed the final five games last season, otherwise he was in line to easily set career-highs across the board. In 12 games he had 61 catches for 583 yards and four touchdowns. When he set his career-highs, in 2020, he had 67 receptions (to lead NFC tight ends) for 723 yards and six touchdowns.

Hockenson has those back-to-back 60-plus catch campaigns on his resume, and he earned a Pro Bowl selection in 2020. That’s not say he has quelled every concern that the Lions reached when they drafted him, but he is in line for a lucrative long-term deal–and all signs point to Detroit giving it to him.

T.J. Hockenson lands solid spot in 2019 class ranking

Bucky Brooks of has reviewed the 2019 draft class and ranked the top-15 players from it, on the idea in the scouting community (he’s a former scout) it takes three full seasons (40-plus games) to make a solid assessment of a draft pick.

The 2019 draft class has turned into a pretty loaded group, as evidenced by the post-first round picks who made Brooks’ top-15 players.

Hockenson landed the No. 13 spot, and here’s Brooks’ assessment of him.

"Hockenson has 128 catches and 10 touchdowns over the past two seasons, but he is just scratching the surface of his All-Pro potential. As a rock-solid playmaker with strong hands and polished route-running skills, the Iowa product is a classic chain mover as an old-school tight end. With the 2020 Pro Bowler also displaying impressive blocking skills at the point of attack, he has a chance to eventually cement himself as the prototypical “Y” that traditionalists covet in a pro-style offense."

Hockenson has been a big part of the Lions’ passing offense, and even with better pieces added around him that will remain the case moving forward. He also has potential that can still be tapped into, and improvements to be made as a blocker, so the ceiling to eventually take a place among the top handful or so of tight ends in the league is definite.

5 players who are future buiding blocks for the Detroit Lions. light. Related Story