The 2019 NFL Draft will be a great event for teams to start building for their future. The Game Haus will be doing scouting reports on some of the top prospects in the 2019 NFL Draft. Iowa tight end T.J. Hockenson is one of two players at his position from the university who will be selected early in the draft.
Position: Tight End
Class: Redshirt Sophomore
2018 stats: 49 receptions, 760 receiving yards, six touchdown catches
Size: 6-foot-5, 251 pounds
Hockenson redshirted his first season at Iowa, but since then has produced a lot. He was one of a few talented tight ends at Iowa, but was able to put up the best numbers and with that become a solid NFL Draft prospect.
At Iowa, he has totaled 73 receptions 1,080 receiving yards and nine touchdowns over his two seasons. After George Kittle left for the NFL after the 2016 season, Hockenson and teammate Noah Fant helped fill the void for the Hawkeyes. Hockenson helped lead Iowa to an 8-5 record in his redshirt freshman season, which included a win in the Pinstripe Bowl over Boston College. This season, Hockenson and the Hawkeyes won the Outback Bowl against Mississippi State to total nine wins for 2018.
After winning the Mackey Award as the top tight end in college football, Hockenson will likely be picked early in the 2019 NFL Draft. He is in the running to be the first tight end selected.
Hockenson is one of the best blocking tight ends in the class and played in a pro-style system at Iowa. He can get to the second level and block linebackers and hold his own. His leverage is usually good, which helps him keep defenders in front of him. Hockenson is physical enough to block players bigger than him. He can also pass protect when asked.
Not only can he block, but Hockenson can run routes too. He is a great route-runner that has a diverse route tree. Hockenson can find the soft spot in the zone to be a viable target for a quarterback. He is also a matchup nightmare in man to man coverage. On broken plays, he rolls back towards the football and can create big plays.
His ball skills, for the most part, are solid as well. He has good hands and a wide catch radius, which makes him a very quarterback-friendly target. With better quarterback play in the NFL, more balls should be in his catch radius and he can be even more productive.
There aren’t many weaknesses to note for Hockenson as a very polished tight end. He doesn’t have an elite trait, other than blocking, for a tight end. This isn’t much of a weakness, but as a solid player overall, he doesn’t have too many areas that he is lacking.
Hockenson should not be asked to block players who are faster than him. When one on one with defensive ends, they at times can get the edge on him and make the play. If he is blocking downfield defensive backs and some linebackers are able to get around him and get to the play. If he gets his hands on someone though, he usually does a good job.
While he does have great ball skills, Hockenson could high point the football more. He does it at times, but is inconsistent overall. If he did this every time, he would be even more of a mismatch for smaller defensive backs.