After my initial freakout over the Lions drafting another TE not only in the first round, but in the Top Ten, I summed it up with four words: “He better be elite.”
You simply don’t draft TEs that high, and for the very rare few who do, that player has to be not just good, but great.
T.J. Hockenson has been almost a complete nonfactor. He had the concussion scare at one point, but there is nothing to indicate that can be an excuse now. And before that, with the exception of his first game, he’s been invisible.
Let’s look at the top half of this year’s draft, and see how players are doing.
- Kyler Murray, QB, Cardinals – already starting and looking good.
- Nick Bosa, DE, 49ers – not just in running for Rookie of the Year, but perhaps NFL Defensive Player of the Year.
- Quinnen Williams, DT, Jets – Probably the only player on this list as or more disappointing than Hock.
- Clelin Farrell, DE, Raiders – 24 tackles and 3.5 sacks so far. Solid, if unspectacular, for a rookie DE. And he seems to be getting better recently.
- Devin White, ILB, Bucs – had 13 tackles Sunday vs. the Saints.
- Daniel Jones, QB, NYG – Starter, doing well.
- Josh Allen, OLB, Jags – 8 sacks already.
- Hockenson - 349 receiving yards, 2 TDs. Of that, 131 yds and 1 TD came in the first game.
- Ed Oliver, DT, Bills – 23 tackles and 2 sacks, pretty good so far for a rookie DT.
- Devin Bush, ILB, Steelers – 74 tackles, sack, two INTs. A star.
- Jonah Williams, OT, Bengals - Injured, out for season.
- Rashan Gary, OLB, Packers - 12 tackles, 1 sack. Not doing much.
- Christian Wilkins, DT, Dolphins - 36 tackles and a sack. Pretty decent.
- Chris Lindstrom, OG, Falcons - On IR.
- Dwayne Haskins, QB, Redskins - Starting.
- Brian Burns, DE, Panthers - 4.5 sacks and a forced fumble.
For a team with as many needs as the Lions, this is disastrous. It harkens back to the old Millenhew days, when year after year, we didn’t get longstanding, useful quality out of our first rounds.
This is where a bunch of people say, “You can tell Hockenson is going to be a FORCE!”
Really? You can? That’s pure speculation on your part. I’ll just go with the actual production, thanks. I believe that’s what Top Ten picks in the NFL Draft should be based upon.