TE TJ Hockenson is a special player
By: Reese Nasser
This upcoming season will be year three for Detroit Lions tight end TJ Hockenson. Hockenson has proven to be one of the most talented players at his position yet he hasn’t been given the credit yet. After a somewhat lackluster rookie year, the former eighth overall pick seemed to turn the corner in year two.
After proving to be one of the lone bright spots on a poor Lions team, Hockenson should be talked about in the same regards as some of the other top tight ends in the league, but he is not. He is currently on a path to being a top-five player at the position yet his name is never brought up in discussions of the best at the position. Lets see why that might be and why he will be one of the best at the position come the end of next season.
The Detroit Lions have been a bottom NFL team for some time now. Their last winning season came in 2017 and their last 10-win season was in 2014. They have always managed to just be mediocre and with the departure of quarterback Matthew Stafford, it makes you question just how they will look now.
There is also a new regime leading the charge in Detroit. New head coach Dan Campbell seems to be bringing a culture change to Detroit. This change could be just what this team needs. In a trade that sent away Stafford, the Lions received Jared Goff. Goff has proven to be a capable NFL quarterback. It is still unknown how Goff will perform in Detroit but expectations will be high for the QB who was just starting in a super bowl a few seasons ago. With Hockenson being stuck on such an average team, does that attribute to his lack of attention? With other top tight ends such as Travis Kelce and George Kittle being on teams that have been at the forefront of the NFL, has that caused them to be talked about more than Hockenson?
Outside of Hockenson, there is a clear lack of options at receiver in Detroit. The next notable receiving threat on the roster is newly signed free agent Tyrell Williams. The Lions added rookie receivers Sage Suratt and Amon-Ra St.Brown. While both of these receivers could develop into real threats, they are still inexperienced. This leads to Hockenson. In his first full 16-game season, Hockenson hauled in 67 receptions and 6 touchdowns.
The Lions will also have to incorporate their new receivers into this offense. With the departures of Kenny Golladay, Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones. Jr, the entire offense will be entirely different. Hockenson can and should be the number one option on this roster, at least through the first few weeks of the season.
So is this the season that Hockenson is able to put the league on notice? It should be. He is one of the most athletic and talented players at his position. His ability to both block and make plays is reminiscent of an old school tight end. He is an embodiment of Detroit and is destined to become one of the next great tight ends in football.