NASHVILLE, Tenn (WLNS) – With the 8th pick in the first round of the 2019 NFL draft, the Lions picked T.J. Hockenson.
T.J. Hockenson is a Tight End from Iowa. The 6-foot-5, 250 pound former Hawkeye, received the 2018 John Mackey Award as top tight end in the nation.
Hockenson is the second Hawkeye tight end ever taken in the first round, joining Dallas Clark, who was picked 24th by the Indianapolis Colts in 2003.
During Iowa’s 9-4 season in 2018, Hockenson caught 49 passes for six touchdowns and led the team with 760 receiving yards. The first team All-Big Ten performer was named Kwalick-Clark Tight End of the Year, and he was also recipient of the Ozzie Newsome Award from Touchdown Club of Columbus, Ohio, and multiple All-America teams, including first team by American Football Coaches Association and USA Today.
Iowa has had at least one player drafted in every NFL Draft since 1978. Hockenson is the 67th player coached by Kirk Ferentz at the University of Iowa to be selected in the NFL Draft.
Analysts say T.J. is most comparable to Dallas Cowboys Tight End Jason Witten.
The Lions are coming off a 6-10 season, fourth in the NFC Central Division. They were 25th of 32 NFL teams in passing yards with 3,599 in 16 games.
Next up, Detroit is scheduled for the 11th pick in the second round and the 25th pick from Philadelphia in the third round.
Although the Lions could have the 43rd and 88th pick, general manager Bob Quinn has been pretty open about saying he’s willing to listen to trade offers, and if the right one comes up at No. 8, he’d at least consider it.
Lions will most likely make a trade during the three-day draft, but analysts say probably not on day 1.
Quinn has been aggressive throughout his career as a general manager, including trading up last year for Kerryon Johnson and Da’Shawn Hand in separate deals.
The 2019 draft is currently taking place in Nashville. The Lions will play the Cardinals on September 8th in Arizona. The Cardinals got QB Kyler Murray with the first overall pick of the first round.
This story will be updated as more information becomes available.