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The world of tight ends in the NFL has changed with the implementation of more creative offenses. T.J. Hockenson is a true throwback at the position. Furthermore, I hope by reading this article you will develop a better appreciation of how all-around tight ends still have a place in today's pass-heavy NFL.
T.J. Hockenson: A New School Throwback
Weight: 250 lbs
D.O.B: 7/3/1997 (age 22)
College Dominator: 25.5%
Breakout Age (BOA): 21
Three-star recruit and sixth highest recruit in the state of Iowa in the 2016 Hawkeyes recruiting class. Redshirted in 2016. Named co-starter alongside Noah Fant for the Iowa Hawkeyes to start 2017. One of Hockenson's shining moments came in 2017 when the Hawkeyes upset The Ohio State Buckeyes. Hockenson was able to contribute five receptions for 71 yards and two touchdowns.
In 2018, T.J. Hockenson won the Big Ten's tight end of the year award, the Kwalick-Clark Award. Also, Hockenson won the 2018 John Mackey Award Winner (college football's top tight end). He is one of only two Iowa tight ends to win the award, Dallas Clark was the other in 2002.
This is where Hockenson makes his money. He uses tenacity and aggression when engaging and finishing plays. Hockenson is a tenacious run blocker how has Fights through defenders well to gain extra yardage on receptions. Pass protection is not something we see much from Hockenson since the Iowa scheme primarily puts it's tight ends out on routes. Hockenson's play strength really separated him from his counterpart, Noah Fant, at Iowa and showcased his ability to solve problems in a different way.
Hockenson is extremely tough in a crowd, showing strong hands to make contested catches and uses his frame to come down with the ball with little room to move. Has the ability to threaten the seam with his long strides and movement off the line of scrimmage at the snap. Does exceptional work gaining position against opposing defenders by using functional footwork and awareness of how to use his frame. It should be noted, Hockenson is no slouch on his routes and has shown much improvement in this area. Hockenson is a smooth athlete and gets in and out of his breaks quickly to create separation with his routes. Uses his height, length, and strong mits to snatch passes out of the air. Also, can bend his frame well to snatch passes delivered by his feet.
There is really no part of the game T.J. Hockenson can't be used. He has enough straight line long speed to create vertical separation, for a big man he can change direction quickly, and there may not be a more aggressive run blocker in the class.
Tall and lean frame. This is not a major concern, but it does need to be addressed. Overall, Hockenson has a complete game which will translate to the next level. My pause, a very small pause, with a prospect like Hockenson is can he develop his body. It is one thing for him to bully defenders in the college game as a run blocker, but can he work on his body and continue to fill out at the next level.