Here’s our 2019 NFL Draft profile for Iowa tight end T.J. Hockenson breaking down his strengths, weaknesses, video highlights, and New York Jets prediction.
The 2019 NFL Draft class is notoriously loaded with premier defensive talent, with it being particularly strong at edge rusher and along the defensive line. But one of the more unheralded strengths of the class is at the tight end position.
With an incredible abundance of talent expected to be valued in the first few rounds, it could be difficult to stand out in such a loaded class. But Iowa’s T.J. Hockenson has had no problem separating himself from the rest of the pack.
The 21-year-old has secured himself a position at the very top of the upcoming tight end class with many calling him the consensus TE1. Hockenson decided to declare for the 2019 NFL Draft after just his redshirt sophomore season but it’s easy to see why.
Despite splitting time with fellow top prospect Noah Fant, Hockenson hauled in 49 receptions for 760 yards and six touchdowns earning First-Team All-Big Ten honors. On top of that, he was also awarded the John Mackey Award for the 2018 season which is given to the nation’s top tight end.
Hockenson may just be the most well-rounded player in this year’s class, regardless of position. The Iowa product is all-around excellent with every aspect of his game, be it receiving, blocking, or anything in between.
There isn’t one part of his game that stands out, more so that he just does everything so well. Hockenson is a fantastic route runner with soft hands who has an excellent catch radius. His ball skills are truly impressive but perhaps nothing about the receiving aspect of his game is more impressive than his smooth route running ability.
Moreover, Hockenson may just be the best all-around blocker in this year’s class. Coming from an Iowa system that generally requires their tight ends to block — save for the aforementioned Fant — Hockenson is an impeccable in-line blocker who uses his great lower body leverage to drive through opposing defenders. If need be he could even be used in pass protection as well.
Simply put, Hockenson is as versatile as they come and it’s hard to see him not succeeding no matter what team he ends up on. He’s just that flexible and that talented.
To put it bluntly, there may be no prospect in this year’s class with fewer weaknesses than Hockenson. His positional versatility will allow him to be successful in any scheme and there isn’t one particular part of his game that stands out as a true “weakness.”
His speed isn’t up to par with the athletic marvels that we’ve seen come out in recent years, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that his speed is below average. It’s just that if you’re looking for a transcendent athlete, Hockenson doesn’t exactly fit that bill.
NEW YORK JETS PREDICTION
More from Jets Draft
- NY Jets: Analyzing the ways to upgrade the cornerback position
- NY Jets: Chris Simms says Zach Wilson is ‘clearly the No. 1 quarterback’
- NY Jets: Would a Deshaun Watson trade be a departure from Joe Douglas’ philosophy?
- NY Jets: 4 WRs the team has reportedly met with ahead of the 2021 NFL Draft
- NY Jets add a new franchise QB in 7-round 2021 NFL Mock Draft
Given that the New York Jets selected their young tight end in last year’s draft in Chris Herndon, there is essentially no chance that they draft Hockenson this year. Especially given that he will likely be off the board in the top 20 picks, don’t expect to see the Iowa star in the green and white next year.
That said, Hockenson will be an excellent fit for a number of teams looking for a plug-and-play starter at the tight end position in this year’s draft class. Teams like the Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, or even the Tennessee Titans — if he lasts that long — could be in play for the talented tight end.
As previously mentioned, Hockenson has the ability to flourish in any scheme he is thrown into making his probability of success in the NFL very high. He may be the closest thing we’ve seen in years to the likes of Travis Kelce and the recently retired Rob Gronkowski simply due to his incredible all-around ability.
If he’s going to reach that same level of success though, he certainly has massive shoes to fill. But it wouldn’t be wise to bet against the success of Hockenson at the next level.