Monday, September 09, 2019

Detroit Lions' T.J. Hockenson is no Eric Ebron, sets NFL record in debut

Chris Thomas, Detroit Free Press
Published 8:23 p.m. ET Sept. 8, 2019 | Updated 8:26 p.m. ET Sept. 8, 2019

The Detroit Lions collapsed on Sunday.
But at least they have a record-setting tight end. 
Rookie tight end T.J. Hockenson had a debut to savor despite Sunday's 27-27 tie with the Arizona Cardinals in Glendale, Arizona. The Lions blew a 24-6 lead in the fourth quarter.
Hockenson caught six passes for 131 yards and a touchdown to cap the most prolific debut for a tight end since AAFC-NFL merger in 1950; he bested the 123-yard performance Monty Stickles had with San Francisco in 1960
It also was the first 100-yard performance by a Lions tight end since the final game of the 2011 season. 

Hockenson was drafted eighth overall in April's draft, becoming the third tight end taken by the Lions in the first round since 2009. 
The pick made the Lions' an easy punchline after the draft, considering the other tight ends — Brandon Pettigrew and Eric Ebron — failed to endear fans during their tenures in Detroit (let's just say, there were a lot of dropped passes)

Ebron's exit was the most unceremonious. The Lions cut him in March 2018, then watched him become a Pro Bowler in his first season with the Indianapolis Colts. In April, when the Lions drafted Hockenson, Ebron tweeted laughing emojis at Dan Orlovsky after the ex-Lions quarterback praised the pick on Twitter. 

Hockenson was touted as every-down tight end, someone who could be as effective in the running game as the passing game. 
On Sunday, he appeared to be as advertised. 
He was targeted early and often by quarterback Matthew Stafford and figures to be an integral part of a Darrell Bevell offense known to emphasize tight ends.

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