Tight end T.J. after registering a modest rookie season Hockenson produced as everyone expected this past season after the Lions drafted him No. 8 overall in 2019.
The Iowa product caught 67 passes to earn a Pro Bowl selection for 723 yards and six touchdowns.
His new coordinator for the offensive believes it’s just the beginning.
“T.J. did some nice things last year and I think his ceiling is even higher,” Anthony Lynn said, per Tim Twentyman of the Lions’ official site. “I know he made the Pro Bowl and all that, but he can play even better and that was the encouraging part. I like what I saw on tape. He’s a good football player.”
The history of Lynn with tight ends suggests that Hockenson could become a great one soon. At his previous stops, the former Chargers head coach and Bills OC manifested the talents of Hunter Henry and Charles Clay. Similarly to Henry, the 6-foot-5, 250-pound Hockenson is constructed, only he’s more athletic and a superior blocker.
He presents a mismatch that Lynn is looking forward to exploiting already.
“It creates a very unique matchup because you have linebackers and safeties covering that guy and if he’s a stud, it’s going to be a long day for you,” Lynn said. “So if I force you to put a (defensive back) on that guy, then obviously you have a lighter box and you can run the football and you want to run the football into a lighter box.
“So, not only does it create matchups for you in the passing game but it also helps you in the run game.”
The versatility of Hockenson should also provide relief for new quarterback Jared Goff, who, while with the Rams, leaned heavily on his tight ends. A new era in Detroit marks the transition in the center, on the coaching staff and in the front office. But Hockenson’s hope is that he will build on his formidable foundation.