On Tuesday, news broke that the Detroit Lions had traded tight end T.J. Hockenson to the Minnesota Vikings in a deal that shook Lions' Nation. When the Lions selected Hockenson with the No. 8 overall pick, the expectation was that he would quickly become a perennial Pro Bowl-caliber player. Though Hockenson did make one Pro Bowl and showed flashes of brilliance in his time with the Lions, his inconsistency was head-scratching, and GM Brad Holmes obviously did not want to give him a mega contract extension. With Hockenson out of the picture, it is now time to meet the Lions' new TE1, Brock Wright.
Who is Detroit Lions' new TE 1 Brock Wright?
Following the Hockenson trade, the Lions updated their unofficial depth chart on their website, and as predicted, Brock Wright is listed as TE1, while rookie James Mitchell is slotted in at TE2.
Here is a look at the Lions' updated unofficial depth chart:
Wright, who played his college ball at Notre Dame, went undrafted and he was eventually picked up by the Lions prior to the 2021 season.
During his rookie season, Wright played in 10 games for the Lions (5 starts) and he caught 12 passes for 117 yards and two touchdowns. So far in 2022, he has played in seven games (2 starts) and he has caught six passes for 88 yards. He has not scored a touchdown.
What does Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell think of Brock Wright?
Prior to the season, Lions head coach Dan Campbell had the following to say about Brock Wright.
“And he’s really growing, and he’s somebody that man, his just — the run blocking is getting better, the pass protection is starting to show up,” Campbell said, “and then I swear that guy it’s like man, when you need a play in the pass game it just kind of — he’s where he’s supposed to be, he shows up, he makes the play, it might not always be the cleanest catch, but he catches and he makes it.
“And so, I like him, man, when you — my vision for a wide tight end is him — that type of player that can mix it up and do the dirty work. But he can make a tough catch. He’s got to be able to catch in traffic. He’s got to — when you need it he’s got to be able to kind of play big boy ball. So, I like where he’s going. I like his progression.”
It will be interesting to see if Wright can play well enough for the remainder of the season to convince Campbell and the Lions' coaching staff that he is worthy of the TE1 position for the 2023 season.
Also, keep a close eye on rookie TE James Mitchell, who will also see an increase in snaps now that Hockenson is gone. Mitchell is talented but it will take him a while to get acclimated to the NFL.
Nation, can you see Brock Wright emerging as a formidable tight-end threat for the Detroit Lions, or is he just a bridge until they can find Hockenson's really replacement?
Uh oh, there's that "bridge" word again.