5 free agent tight ends the Detroit Lions should target
2. Austin Hooper
2022 Team: Tennessee Titans
After being a free agent bust with the Cleveland Browns for two years, Hooper was cut and landed with the Titans last offseason. As could have been expected in such a run-heavy offense for Tennessee, his numbers weren’t too good (41 receptions for 444 yards and two touchdowns). But his drop rate, 2.4 percent according to Pro Football Focus or 1.7 percent according to Pro Football Reference, was excellent.
It really seems longer ago, but Hooper had back-to-back 70-plus catch, Pro Bowl seasons with the Atlanta Falcons in 2018 and 2019 as a 24 and a 25-year old. But it’s fair to say he hasn’t had a quarterback even on the level of the 2018 or 2019 version Matt Ryan throwing him the ball since he signed that big-money contract with the Browns.
Gordon McGuinness of Pro Football Focus recently named Hooper as his buy-low free agent tight end. That sounds pretty ideal for the Lions, even if Pro Football Focus and Spotrac’s projected market values per year for him are a little different. At what’s certain to be a reasonable price point no matter what, the Lions should be in on Hooper.