#1 Tight End by Football Addicts
Born: July 3rd, 1997 (21 years old)
Weight: 251 Lbs
Position: Tight End
T.J. Hockenson was born and raised in Chariton, Iowa, and town with a smaller population than some of my nearby high schools (4,191). Hockenson would play football at Chariton High school, and though only being rated a 3 star prospect by many, was still the 4th highest rated prospect in the state of Iowa. in 2016, T.J would redshirt his freshman year and wind up being one of Iowa two starting tight ends by 2017. His sophomore season he would play alongside another one of the nations top tight ends in Noah Fant. With Fant as the receiving threat, and Hockenson the “blocker”, Hockenson would record 24 for 320 yards and three touchdowns. That wouldn’t fool the John Mackey Award voter though, still being listed on the preseason watchlist for 2018. They were right to do so as Hockenson emerged as one of the best players in the Big-Ten. He would go on to surpass Fant in receptions with 46, yards, with 717, and six touchdowns. He was awarded the Kwalick-Clark Award for the best tight end in the Big-10, and the John Mackey award for the best tight end in the entire NCAA. The last Hawkeye to do so was Dallas Clark in 2002, and the first sophomore. Along with everything else he was voted First-Team All- Big Ten and AP Second Team All-American. He might have caught some off guard when declaring for the NFL Draft, but has quickly soared up draft boards to become on of the draft’s hottest commodities.
Strengths & Weaknesses
If you love George Kittle, which you should, you will love T.J Hockenson. He looks like an offensive lineman when asked to block and is one of the best run blocking tight ends I have ever scouted. At the combine he ran a 4.7 40 yard dash which is on par with tight ends like Rob Gronkowski, Zach Ertz, and Jordan Reed.
I hate to say this but Hockenson really doesn’t have any major weaknesses in his game. Sometimes you can catch him being almost too eager to block a defender at the second level, come in too fast, and not make a secure block on him. I would also like to say he has a lot of upside as a pass catcher, but needs to work on when and where to high point the football. For a red shirt sophomore, Hockenson is one of the safest bets in the class.
NFL Draft Projection/NFL Comp
NFL Draft Projection
Nearly every team in the NFL could use a guy like T.J Hockenson in one way or another. That could have him be the first tight end selected in the top 10 of the draft since Eric Ebron in 2014. Personally, I think he will probably still slip to the 15th-20th pick range, and be a steal of a player. I think he can’t fall past 19th to the Tennessee Titans. Delanie Walker is entering his 14th season, coming off a season ending ankle injury, and Hockenson would be one of the most valuable names at pick 19.
Hockenson can be a great blocker at the next level, but offers tons of athleticism for the position. At the NFL Combine, he ran a 4.7 40 yard dash, with a 37.5 inch vertical and a 10.2 broad jump. Not too many tight ends have ever tested that well, and still possessed blocking ability. I believe his ceiling is a more athletic Jason Witten, having him do his damage inline with the offensive line. Not only does Witten silently have the 2nd most receiving yards and receptions for a tight end, he also was very important to Dallas’ running game later in his career. Hockenson has similar size, speed, and football I.Q. to Jason Witten, but can jump nearly 9 inches higher, and a feet further. Drafting a tight end in the first round can be boring, but whatever franchise takes Hockenson will reap the benefits for years.