T.J. Hockenson putting on a show at Detroit Lions training camp

Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images /

Detroit Lions rookie tight end T.J. Hockenson is absolutely dominating in training camp and is well on his way to proving his worth as a top ten selection.

Many questioned whether the Detroit Lions taking tight end T.J. Hockenson with the eighth overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft was the right move. Hockenson was dominant for the Iowa Hawkeyes in 2018, but it is not like he was a dominant college tight end for many years. Hockenson broke out in 2018 and immediately entered early for the draft.

On top of that, there is not exactly a long list of tight ends who were drafted in the top ten to go on to have NFL success. Before Hockenson, the last tight end to get drafted in the top ten was Eric Ebron (10th overall by the Lions in 2014). Before Ebron, we saw Vernon Davis go sixth overall in 2006 and Kellen Winslow Jr. go sixth overall in 2004. As you can see, a tight end going in the top ten is pretty rare and it also rarely works out.

However, Hockenson may be the guy to break the streak. While the Ebron pick still haunts the dreams of many Lions’ fans, Hockenson’s ability to have NFL success has nothing to do with the past. This guy is an extremely impressive football player who is going to carve his own path.

Hockenson is a sneaky athlete who has the speed and quickness to stretch the middle of the field from the tight end position. He does a fantastic job of creating instant space against linebackers and can create even more separation as the play unfolds. He is also a smart player who understands coverages and knows how to use leverage and sharp routes to get open.

The Iowa product also shows an incredible pair of hands, seemingly always coming down with the ball in any situation. He is also strong in the run after catch department for a tight end and is an elite blocker. Basically, this guy can do it all and he does everything at an extremely high level. It is always scary taking a tight end this early, but it is easy to see how the Detroit Lions fell in love with Hockenson.

I loved Hockenson as a prospect and fully believe in his ability to make a massive impact at the next level. But he has to prove it on the field. Well, if his performance early in training camp is any indication, Hockenson is quickly going to be one of the best tight ends in the entire NFL.

Lions fans are tripping over themselves to praise Hockenson. A simple Twitter search for his name will bring up countless results praising his play in Training Camp. However, there are also well-respected reporters who are clearly impressed.

First, from Chris Burke of The Athletic:

Some of the local sites are also seeing how Hockenson can dominate:

ESPN staff writer Michael Rothstein was also clearly impressed with what he saw out of the young tight end at Detroit Lions training camp.

"“Hockenson worked his way into the end zone,” Rothstein explained. “Backup quarterback Tom Savage let the ball go. Hockenson was in the middle of traffic, though. Had to jump up. And he outplayed fellow rookie Will Harris, coming down with a touchdown.”“Over and over again early in Lions training camp, it has been like this,” Rothstein continued. “Double coverage from Tavon Wilson and Jahlani Tavai? No problem, Hockenson caught the ball after beating both of them. A hard-thrown ball threaded through the defense in the back of the end zone from Matthew Stafford — Hockenson snagged that for a touchdown, too.”"

Simply put, Hockenson is absolutely putting on a show. While the odds may be stacked against him as a top-ten pick at the tight end position, Hockenson is a different breed. He is the kind of guy who you can count on in any situation and he is going to make a play.

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Make no mistake about it, the Detroit Lions found a good player in T.J. Hockenson. He is a player with a safe floor and a high ceiling. To put it simply, they hit the jackpot here.