T.J. Hockenson best Available
Josh Allen isn’t going to be there. Neither is Nick Bosa or Ed Oliver. If any of those three were available, they should be the pick. However, it’s pretty clear that they won’t be by the time the Detroit Lions are on the clock at number eight.
So the choice for the Lions will be the reach for Brian Burns or Greedy Williams, or to draft the best player available who fills a huge need. That player is TE T.J. Hockenson.
Hockenson is not Eric Ebron. He’s not Brandon Pettigrew. Bob Quinn and the rest of the organization shouldn’t let past mistakes force them into another mistake by missing out on Hockenson.
The cupboard is Bare
Michael Roberts and Jesse James. That’s what the Lions have at tight end. Sure, there are a few depth players (use in case of emergency players), but those are the two definite starters.
Last year, the Tigers trio of Luke Willson, Michael Roberts, and Levine Toilolo combined for 43 catches and 450 yards. That was all the production the Lions got out of the tight end position. There is no way to have a consistent offense when you can’t count on your tight ends. And remember, for a good chunk of the year Golden Tate was in an Eagles uniform, giving a lot of additional opportunities for the tight ends.
The Lions signed Jesse James to replace the departing Willson and Toilolo. Last year, in Pittsburgh, James caught 30 passes for 423 yards and two touchdowns. Not very inspiring. He’s a fine piece, but he’s not a star. He’s a number two tight end.
Hockenson is a Freak
Hockenson is an extraordinary talent. A once in a generation player.
His excellent blocking immediately helps the running game. He has both the size and the strength to engage and move the pile. Hockenson’s hand-work is fantastic, and he has a great punch which allows him to sustain through the entire play.
Of course, where he really excels is as a receiver. Hockenson is incredibly athletic, and he gets significant separation from linebackers. This allows him to go over the middle and turn short passes into extended plays.
But it’s not just about speed and agility. Hockenson also possesses excellent body control and hands. This allows him to hit seems down the field and beat out safeties. He uses perfect positioning and superb timing to shield off safeties and make catches in front of them for significant gains.
Receivers will love Him
Hockenson’s ability to eat up coverage in the middle of the field will mean that the receivers have more room to maneuver.
Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones, and Danny Amendola will all benefit from Hockenson.
Marvin Jones will be free to streak down the field with more one-on-one coverage. Golladay could also go long, but, more often, he will find seems in the deeper part of the center of the field.
Amendola might benefit the most. As the slot receiver, a good amount of his routes will take him across the middle just like Hockenson. It will be almost impossible for any defense to cover both of them across the middle. If they focus on Amendola, Hockenson will burn them and vice versa.
It’s a No-Brainer
This is the easiest pick Bob Quinn will ever have. Yes, the Lions need pass-rushing and linebacking help, but the elite talents will be gone at eight. This draft is deep enough to get someone of equal value at those positions in round two.
There is no one even close to equal value at tight end.