Detroit Lions: T.J. Hockenson will be aiming for the stars in 2022

(Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports)
(Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Detroit Lions had to finish off the 2021 season without tight-end T.J. Hockenson, who had things go south for him 12 weeks into the season. He would need to undergo a season-ending thumb surgery that would put an end to his 2021 performance.

Now, as the 2022 season reaches the horizon, the Detroit Lions will expect Hockenson to be a difference-maker in this team’s offense. With new pieces set to join the huddle on the regular, Hockenson will aim to be an asset and a difference-maker with less pressure.

Hockenson was having a quality season before the season-ending surgery. He had played in 12 games for the Lions, where he had 61 receptions for 583 yards with four touchdown grabs to his credit.

While the 2021 season ended pre-maturely, he was coming off of a 2020 season where he was a Pro Bowler and had six touchdowns with 723 yards for the Lions’ offense. As 2022 comes into focus, the priority will be his health, but Hockenson should be ready to go.

T.J. Hockenson is aiming for the stars in 2022 with Detroit Lions.

The Lions announced that they are picking up his fifth-year option; no shock there, but Hockenson can focus on getting right ahead of training camp. Hockenson is just 24 years old, with plenty to offer for the Lions’ offense.

With new weapons being added from free agency and the NFL Draft, Goff will be able to spread the ball around more than he has recently. That is the hope anyway. Hockenson is one of those options for the Lions’ offense, and with more receivers or players to target, it frees up room for Hockenson to do his thing.

Besides, Hockenson helps as a blocker at times, though his abilities to catch passes and produce offense are what the Lions fans love the most about him. As a high-profile tight-end, Hockenson will try and outproduce his full-season performance from 2020 and his injury-shortened 2021 season.

Hockenson has been a significant piece of the Lions’ offense, being there for big plays, catching balls over the middle, and finding ways to get the job done. Looking ahead to the 2022 season, the early thoughts are that he can be a true difference-maker.

While Hockenson is a first-rounder, the Lions did draft James Mitchell in the fifth round of the 2022 NFL Draft, a Virginia Tech product who will help keep Hockenson fresh and healthy rather than running him into the ground.

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Having Mitchell in the mix helps Hockenson even more. The two will not compete but rather complement each other, as is the hope anyway. The 2022 season is still out on the horizon, but Hockenson should have big dreams.