No Major Injury History
2018: Wisconsin, Penn State, Northwestern
Tall, long, and burly TE, who can produce high quality plays both as a pass catcher, as well as a blocker. Is a smooth, and coordinated athlete that has a great burst off LOS, and terrific snap anticipation, that puts him ahead of the ball game when running his routes. Using strength, lateral agility, and savviness when uncovering coverage, he presents a difficult matchup to try and blanket. Has strong, and sure hands that he uses to pluck passes away from his frame, and complete a ton of combative catches. Able to separate from defenders after the catch with the combination of his speed, and lateral agility. Shows the ability to get vertical, and meet the ball at its apex. Has an impressive ability to hurdle defenders that charge downhill too quickly. Equally impressive as his pass catching abilities, is his ability to make an impact in the blocking department both as an in-line run blocker who can gain a push, and as a blocker in space where he excels at finding, and planting defenders at the second level. Clutch performer who always seems to come up with the big play in the waning moments.
Has great functional playing strength to be able to rag doll defenders at the college level, but will need to continually add strength, and especially lower body bulk in an NFL based strength and conditioning program, or else he may not be able to have the same type of dynamic impact as a blocker. Is still somewhat inexperienced in a sense, with only a little over 20 games experience at the college level, and will need to continually work to refine his skill set that is already pretty valuable. Will need to learn how to deal with more explosive pass rushers when he is asked to pass protect. Not an explosive athlete, and more of a sum of the parts kind of player.
T.J. Hockenson is a 21-year-old, redshirt sophomore, that is coming off a sensational season that was highlighted by him being awarded the Mackey trophy for being the top TE in college football. He will look to ride that wave of momentum into the NFL Draft with his highly valuable, and diversified all-around skill set. He will be a player in tremendous demand when it comes to draft weekend, and if all his measureables check out at the Combine, he should set himself up squarely as the top TE in this years draft class, which should culminate in a round one selection. His peripherals and skill set remind me of George Kittle, who has the same alma mater as him, and was asked to play a similar style of football as he did while at the college level.
Great overall athleticism, with great long speed to press the seam. Has great length, and ability to pluck passes away from his body. Has underrated lateral agility, and elusiveness to be able to slither past defenders trying to get a jam on him, as well as slide downfield for chunk yardage. After the catch he regularly showed off an ability to hurdle defenders, and gain YAC. Possesses great play strength in the run blocking department at the college level, but will need to continually add more strength, and lower body bulk to be able to have the same type of impact at the NFL level. Excellent ability to contort to off target throws, and has terrific balance, and body control on combat catches. Will use a variety of moves both using his strength, and fluidity to escape jams such as a swim move and hump move. Shows an excellent ability to flow and fit from a move TE position, as well as when he lined up as a FB. Great fluidity, and lateral agility to be able to cut and gain separation in and out of his routes. Will shake defenders in the open field with a high rate of success, which is especially impressive due to his size, and stature. Runs with great balance, and that added to his speed and power makes it hard for second, and third level defenders to bring him down. Does not have a lot of explosive qualities in his game. His game is a product of great effort, great athleticism, and intelligence, rather than an explosive mover in space, or ridiculous jumping ability. The only traits that I would consider explosive would be his ability to burst off the LOS, and his uncanny ability uncover from coverage by gaining separation in and out of his breaks. Has great long speed to be able to make an impact vertically. Defensive backs have to be aware of when he is running seam routes, or else they will be surprised when he runs past them for a score. Consistently showed an ability to slip past coverage, and make big time plays downfield.
Big Play Ability
Spacing & Timing
Great burst off the LOS, will put defenders back on ice skates, if they cannot anticipate the snap like he can. His game preparation enhances his ability to get a jump off the LOS. Excellent route runner who comes out of a offense system that mimics a lot of the routes, and responsibilities in an NFL offense. Shows equal prowess for being able to run routes at all three levels of the defense. Consistently was asked to run seam routes, and was a force downfield that defenses had to equate for. Has the innate ability to be able to uncover in key situations. Uses his strength, savviness, and agility to separate from defenders. Can escape jams off the LOS with various moves, which then leaves his defender at a disadvantage for the rest of the entirety of the route due to his lateral agility, and quickness in and out of his breaks. Understands how to shield ball away from defenders as well, and can power his way open if need be from second, and third level defenders. Soft and sure hands, that he uses to consistently uses to pluck passes away from his frame. Excellent grip strength when tasked with making combative catches, and has a certain heaviness to them when he grasps defenders while run blocking. Likes to use his athleticism more than dropping the hammer on defenders after the catch, although if the situation calls for it he will power through defenders he has a size advantage on. Has a go-to hurdle move that he likes to use when he notices defenders flying hard downhill in pursuit. Cerebral player who shows a distinct ability to protect the ball from turnovers by using proper ball placement in arm away from contact, and has great grip strength to tuck ball away.
Excellent in-line blocking TE who uses his snap anticipation, intelligence, and blocking technique to excel. Shoots hands inside of defender's frame, snaps hips on contact, and drives feet on contact to gain a good push off LOS. Understands when to use positional blocking, as well as when to angle defender away from rushing lane. Showed the ability to initiate, and then scrape to second level of defense to allow rushing lane to develop downfield, as well as an ability to cut block on backside of play, and can down block with great vigor. The only thing he needs to refine is the ability to maintain contact with defender throughout the duration of the play, because at times he allows a window for defender to shed him. Will need to continually add strength, and bulk to be able to have the same type of impact at the NFL level, as he did in college. With his terrific lateral agility, the coaches at Iowa used him a ton as a move TE, as well as a lead FB on iso blocks. Showed a real prowess to be able to flow, and fit on defenders in space. Is adept at keeping his eyes up, and targeting a defender to initiate. He is able to ragdoll second level defenders due to size, and strength advantage. Does a terrific job of being a stalk blocker out in front of screen plays, as well as being able to scrape and flow from first to second level of defense as an in-line blocker. Keeps his eyes up, and flows to target with a high rate of accuracy, the only time he fails is when a DB with better fluidity, and quickness flashed past him. Put forth some impressive tape as a pass blocker, and was asked to chip in as an extra OL on a good number of reps. Shows an real prowess for being able to quick set, shuffle feet to mirror pass rusher, anchor, and lockout defenders when given the opportunity. The only time he struggled was when he was asked to block a defender with a tremendous first-step, and combined that with quickness, and power. Feisty, and aggressive playing demeanor, that shows consistently across an entire game. Willing to scrap, and grind against defensive lineman who have more size, and strength then him, but never backs down from a fight. Clutch performer who will uncover in the passing game when his QB needs him by either breaking off his route, or by sitting down, and presenting a target, as well as make a key block when necessary to bust his RB for a long gain.
Blocking in Space
Gritty player that loves to do the dirty work of the position. Will fight through blocks, and defenders to get open for his QB, and is a ready an willing blocker when the coaches call his number. Only was a 22-game contributor in college, which for being a redshirt sophomore isn't too green to make a move to the next level. Put up 9 touchdowns over his career at Iowa, and was someone the QB's target down in the red zone. 2018 was his breakout campaign, where he put all the different aspects of an elite level TE together that concluded with him being named the John Mackey Award winner, and the Ozzie Newsome Award winner, that is annually given to the best TE in college football. Highly motivated player, who simply does not take plays off. Willing to block, and fight through the whistle while blocking, or in the passing game.
Aggression & Toughness
Catch Point Mentality
Terrific feel of how the defense is trying to cover him, and will adjust his routes, and breaks accordingly. Will identify where the line of gain is, and will run his routes farther than what is needed. Puts in the work in the film room to help him refine his craft, and pick up small intricacies that he can exploit. Was asked to ingest an NFL style offense, and seemed to excel at all the finer details of the TE position. Was tasked with running out of multiple positions, and seemed to flow through them without having to think of his assignments. Was an Academic All-American in 2018, and an honorable mention Academic All-American in 2017. Excellent positional versatility, with playing time coming from: in-line TE, move TE, FB, slot WR, and even being asked to split outside at WR.