Detroit Lions NFL draft grades: Here's what pundits think of T.J. Hockenson

Chris Thomas
Detroit Free Press
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National pundits couldn't reach a consensus on Detroit Lions first-round draft pick T.J. Hockenson

Hockenson's selection received marks up and down the grading scale from local and national pundits after he was taken eighth overall on Thursday at the NFL draft in Nashville, Tenn.,

Here's how the pick graded out: 

Freep's Carlos Monarrez

Grade:  C-minus

The buzz: "Hockenson might become a star eventually, but tight ends are slow to develop and produce as rookies, and the Lions need impact players this season."

Iowa's T.J. Hockenson is selected as the eighth overall pick by the Detroit Lions in the first round of the NFL draft in downtown Nashville, Tenn. on April 25, 2019.

CBS Sports' Pete Prisco

Grade:  B-minus

The buzz: "He's a good player, but let's stop with all the comparisons to Rob Gronkowski. ... Can he rush the passer because the Lions can't rush the passer?"

For The Win's Steven Ruiz

Grade:  C-minus

The buzz: "Hockenson should develop into a fine tight end … just not one who really makes a difference for the Lions."

Grade:  C

The buzz: Tight ends typically go later than anticipated, so using the eighth-overall selection on one seems questionable, especially with a stud player like Ed Oliver still on the board."

Sports Illustrated's Andy Benoit

Grade:  A

The buzz: "Hockenson might not be the next Rob Gronkowski (those would be unfair expectations to place upon any player), but like Gronk, he is both a high-level receiver and blocker. That gives the Lions schematic flexibility and helps a running game that, incredibly, has remained mostly dormant since Barry Sanders’s sudden retirement."

The Ringer's Danny Kelly

Grade:  B 

The buzz: "Man, the Lions just love taking tight ends early. Hockenson becomes just the fourth player at his position to come off the board in the top 10 since the turn of the century, and just the second since 2007. The other in that stretch, of course, was Eric Ebron, whom the Lions took with the 10th pick in the 2014 draft. That didn’t work out too great for Detroit."'s Chad Reuter

Grade: B-plus

The buzz: "I love Hockenson as a two-way tight end prospect. He will be a strong target for Matthew Stafford and a nice blocker in the run game. But he wasn't the top player available: it was defensive tackle Ed Oliver."

Chris Thomas is the sports editor at the Detroit Free Press. Contact him at or follow him on Twitter @bychristhomas.

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