The tight end class for the 2019 NFL Draft has been talked up heavily as one of the deepest groups we’ve seen in quite some time. While 2017 generated some buzz with a few top names such as O.J. Howard, Evan Engram, and David Njoku, the rest of the class has left a sour taste in our mouth as fantasy players.
Now, a new group headlined by players such as Noah Fant, Jace Sternberger, Irv Smith, Jr., and Dawson Knox enters the league.
This class has the chance to be special and have several consistent fantasy contributors come out of it though. But there’s one player who appears to be leading the pack and is poised to have an instant impact in the NFL…T.J. Hockenson.
NFL Scouting Combine Overview
|Height/Weight||40 yard Dash||Bench Press||Vertical Jump||Broad Jump||3 Cone Drill|
|6'5"/251 pounds||4.7 seconds||17 reps||37.5 inches||123 inches||7.02 seconds|
Hockenson is a tight end coach’s dream at 6’5″ and 251 pounds. But don’t let his size fool you…Hockenson can move and his 40 yard dash time indicates that he carries his weight extremely well.
Hockenson is a beast in the run game and there’s multiple highlights of him flattening defenders and opening up lanes for his running back at Iowa.
— Matt Bowen (@MattBowen41) April 18, 2019
While Hockenson is going to immediately contribute as an in-line blocker, he has the movement skills and fluidity to be able to work the middle of the field and be a safety blanket for his NFL quarterback. He displays great receiving ability by almost always catching everything away from his body and great awareness on the field to know where he’s at and get his feet down in bounds if necessary.
The 4.7 40 Yard Dash time is certainly not bad, especially for his size, but it’s the 3 Cone Drill time that really should paint a picture for what Hockenson can do on the field. A time of 7.02 seconds is great for someone his size and demonstrates his lateral agility and ability to come in and out of breaks quickly. He has the tools and traits to be the focal point of an offense in the NFL and his college stats back that theory up.
|Year||Receptions/Receiving Yards||Yards Per Reception||Receiving TD's|
It’s important to note that tight ends rarely see the type of involvement in the passing game to reach 1,000 yards in college. While some can, what Hockenson was able to accomplish in his senior year is nothing to sneeze at…especially considering that he had another 1st rounder with him in Noah Fant at the same position.
He showed that he has the knowledge and ability to separate consistently from linebackers and defensive backs alike, which will set him up for success in the NFL.
— GMFB (@gmfb) April 5, 2019
Ultimately, Hockenson is one of the most complete tight ends to come out in quite a while. He’s dominant in the run game, but also provides amazing reliability for a quarterback in the passing game. With all of this being said, he’s going to be a dominant force for fantasy football.
T.J. Hockenson was chosen with the #8 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions.
— Detroit Lions (@Lions) April 30, 2019
This is an incredibly high selection for a tight end in the NFL Draft, but the Lions believe in Hockenson’s talents so much that they were willing to spend that draft capital. Hockenson will step in immediately as a Day 1 Starter and contribute in a big way to this offense led by Darrell Bevell.
Bevell brings an offense to Detroit that is marked by a desire to run the football. Over the course of Bevell’s coaching career, his offenses have leaned heavily towards the run game. This obviously leads to less receiving opportunities for Hockenson, who will need to rely on touchdowns to find fantasy success.
Hockenson has all the traits and talents to succeed in the NFL and he should have a long and impactful career. While some in the industry have compared him to Rob Gronkowski, I believe he fits more of the Jason Witten mold than Gronk. Witten had some extremely productive fantasy years in Dallas and the hope is that Hockenson can make a similar impact. This may not happen in 2019 due to the passing volume of the Lions offense, but Hockenson is still worth watching based on his touchdown upside.
Dynasty Rookie Drafts: Hockenson is a great football player, but he may be asked to stay in and block more often than not…especially in this offense. While I do still believe Hockenson is worth a late first round pick, his former Iowa teammate Noah Fant may have landed in a better fantasy spot. Fant should be the first rookie tight end off the board, but Hockenson shouldn’t be far behind.