Lions Select T.J. Hockenson with No. 8 Overall Pick

April 25, 2019

Written by Rob Howe

IOWA CITY, Iowa – T.J. Hockenson continued his meteoric rise during the last year on Thursday. Iowa’s tight end was selected eighth overall in the NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions.

Hockenson became the third player in head coach Kirk Ferentz’s 20 years to be chosen in the Top 10. He joined offensive linemen Robert Gallery (No. 2 in ’04) and Brandon Scherff (No. 5 in ’15). All three grew up in Iowa.

In 2018, Hockenson won the John Mackey Award as the nation’s top tight end and was a first-team all-American. He caught 49 balls for 760 yards (15.5 average) and six touchdowns.

“He’s a throwback to the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s and ’90s,” ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr. said during the network’s broadcast. “He can block, get down the field, make the catch.”

Kiper Jr. dropped the comparison of Rob Gronkowski, the future hall of famer who retired after last season. Fellow ESPN analyst Louis Riddick commented on that.

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“That’s ambitious. Obviously, Rob is one of the best to ever play. But I will say this, philosophically, how they’re trying to build the football team, it makes a lot of sense. They needed production out of the tight end position,” he said.

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“T.J. is going to give you the run blocking. He also is one of those guys that is sneaky fast down the field you can make some big plays.”

Hockenson became just the fourth tight end selected in the Top 10 of the draft since ’97. The Chariton was the 10th Hawkeye player at the position chosen since ’00.

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