T.J. Hockenson‘s first NFL season will end early. The No. 8 overall pick suffered an ankle injury that will prompt the Lions to place him on IR, Matt Patricia said Monday.
The Iowa product will wrap up his first season with 32 receptions for 367 yards and two touchdowns. Fellow Big Ten-produced rookie David Blough repeatedly tried to get Hockenson going on Thanksgiving Day, targeting him a season-high 11 times, but that effort ended with six receptions for 18 yards. It was emblematic of Hockenson’s rookie year.
After it looked like Hockenson would buck the trend of rookie tight ends being slow to assimilate to NFL action, he did not contribute too much statistically. More than a third of Hockenson’s yardage numbers came via his six-catch, 131-yard debut against the Cardinals. He did suffer a concussion and a shoulder injury, however. Hockenson still figures to be a key target for Matthew Stafford next season.
Detroit used a first-round pick on a tight end for the third time in 10 years, with Hockenson following Brandon Pettigrew and Eric Ebron. Hockenson joined Noah Fant as Iowa tight ends chosen in Round 1. Considering the leap fellow Iowa product George Kittle made in his second season, more can be expected of the ex-Hawkeyes as NFL sophomores.