T.J. Hockenson 2019 NFL Draft Profile

T.J. Hockenson
IOWA CITY, IA - NOVEMBER 23: Iowa Hawkeyes tight end T.J. Hockenson (38) signals a first down after catching a ten-yard pass late in the game during a Big Ten Conference football game between the Nebraska Cornhuskers and the Iowa Hawkeyes on November 23, 2018, at Kinnick Stadium, Iowa City, IA. (Photo by Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Overview
Position: Tight end
Height: 6’5”
Weight: 251 pounds
School: Iowa Hawkeyes

Combine Performance Data
40-yard dash: 4.70 seconds
Bench press: 17 reps
Vertical jump: 37.5 inches (second-best among tight ends)
Broad jump: 10 feet, 3 inches (second-best among tight ends)
Three-cone drill: 7.02 seconds (second-best among tight ends)
20-yard shuttle: 4.18 seconds (second-best among tight ends)
60-yard shuttle: 11.55 seconds (second-best among tight ends)

T.J. Hockenson 2019 NFL Draft Profile

T.J. Hockenson has a strong case for being the best tight end in the college football landscape. A monster in both the run and pass game, Hockenson combined with fellow first-round talent Noah Fant to tear up opposing defenses. During the 2018 season, Hockenson recorded 49 receptions for 760 yards and six touchdowns while providing fantastic blocking as an in-line tight end. The Charlton, IA native was named the best tight end in college football, earning the John Mackey Award at the conclusion of the season.

Hockenson redshirted through his freshman year before making his collegiate debut in 2017. Playing alongside Fant, Hockenson finished his redshirt freshman season with 24 receptions for 320 yards and three touchdowns. Hockenson’s best game of the season likely came when he recorded five receptions for 71 yards and two touchdowns to pull off an upset victory over fifth-ranked Ohio State.

After recording 70 receptions for 1,037 yards and nine touchdowns through two seasons, Hockenson decided to declare for the 2019 NFL Draft. Hockenson has some fantastic tape from college but solidified himself as a top pick with a strong performance at the NFL Combine.

Strengths

  • polished route runner capable of running crisp, tight patterns;
  • too fast for linebackers to cover;
  • too big for safeties to cover;
  • fantastic catch radius allows him to catch anything thrown his way;
  • strong, reliable hands;
  • has the acceleration and burst to get open deep;
  • a strong run blocker who won’t get overpowered when aligned inside;
  • can spread out and align as an outside receiver or slot receiver.

Weaknesses

  • will need to add some muscle to his frame;
  • struggles to grab football at the highest point;
  • doesn’t always find the holes in zone coverage;
  • pass protection could use improvement;
  • mediocre second-level run blocking.

NFL Comparison: George Kittle

Teams With a Need: New England Patriots, Detroit Lions, Jacksonville Jaguars, Green Bay Packers, Cincinnati Bengals, Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, Denver Broncos

Projection: Top 15

Bottom Line

Hockenson should be a top-five tight end in the NFL. He possesses elite route-running capabilities with strong hands and the ability to beat defenses on all three levels of the field. A natural mismatch, Hockenson is too big to be covered by a safety and too fast to be covered by a linebacker. His quick acceleration lets him get off the line quick, his top speed allows him to beat defenses over the top, and his absurd catch radius lets him bring in anything thrown his way.

The only problems with Hockenson are ones which should be fixed in time. Like just about every tight end prospect, Hockenson will need to add on some muscle to get his body ready for the bigger and faster NFL. He shouldn’t have a problem doing this, as NFL strength programs build up players like Hockenson on an annual basis.

The NFL needs a new consensus top tight end after Rob Gronkowski called it a career. Hockenson won’t challenge Travis Kelce, Zach Ertz, or George Kittle for that title in 2019, but he has the chance to develop into the best tight end in the league as soon as 2020. Positional value says not to take a tight end in the top 15, but you make exceptions for players with this absurd level of talent.

Main photo:
Embed from Getty Images

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