Detroit Lions: Tight end TJ Hockenson poised for breakout season

(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

Detroit Lions tight end TJ Hockenson is poised for a breakout season in 2020.

With the virtual offseason continuing, and Matthew Stafford back to full health, Detroit Lions tight end TJ Hockenson should be able to come into his own during his second year. Whether it be Allen Park or West Virginia for training camp, Hockenson will be looking to make a big jump.

Hockenson also had to deal with an offense not being commanded by Stafford after he went down with his injury. He was selected in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft with the eighth overall pick by the Lions.

The 6-foot-5, 247-pound tight end is a product of the University of Iowa where he played alongside George Kittle, who is one of the game’s top players at that position. Hockenson being taken so high in the draft means that obviously, the Lions think he has the potential to be great.

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In his first 12 games from 19, Hockenson would catch 32 balls for 367 yards, hauling in two touchdowns.

Hockenson would bring in 11.5 yards per reception, with his longest reception being a 39-yard pass. His first season would ultimately be cut short with an injury.

He would spend the end of the season on the Injured Reserve (IR) from December on, but Hockenson looks to break out when he returns to the field in 2020.

As mentioned above, a healthy Stafford returning to the field should only mean good things for the tight end. If Hockenson can use his second season to burst onto the scene and become an offensive weapon comparable to his former Iowa teammate, Kittle, the Lions will be looking great.

When the Lions selected Hockenson, it was not for his ability as a blocking tight end; a team would not spend an eighth overall selection on a blocking tight end. His numbers were mediocre, as discussed above, so a jump in the statistics will be needed from Hockenson.

The Lions are not very worried about Hockenson, given that he had a shortened season due to injury, and tight end can be tough to get acclimated with. The Lions do have a history of drafting tight ends who do not become that breakout star they expected, but Hockenson will change that.

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In the second season that TJ Hockenson spends catching passes as a member of the Detroit Lions, he will break out and become the reliable tight end that is needed in this offense.