Thomas James Hockenson, T.J. for short, grew up in a small town in Iowa, where he played football and basketball. He was a four-year letter winner at tight end as well as defensive back. Hockenson accumulated numerous school records, and helped lead his team to the state playoffs and was named to the All-State first team that year. A three-star recruit in 2016, Hockenson chose to attend the University of Iowa.
Hockenson redshirted his first year. Hockenson was one of two starting tight ends in Iowa‘s 2017 season, along with another familiar name, Noah Fant. He finished the season with a respectable 24 catches for 320 yards and three touchdowns.
In 2018, Hockenson began the year on the preseason watchlist for the John Mackey award along with his teammate Fant. Hockenson entered the 2019 Draft, and was the eighth overall pick by the Detroit Lions.
Hockenson played in a total of 12 games in his 2019 rookie season. Initially storming out of the gates in week one with an impressive 6 catches, 131 yards and a touchdown in his debut. Sadly, Hockenson was targeted just 50 more times in the next 11 games, and only surpassed 50 yards once in that time.
Unfortunately, injuries cut his season short, as he suffered a concussion in Week 4, and then a significant ankle injury in Week 13 that landed him on injured reserve. His ankle injury is a bit of a mystery as there is limited information about Hockenson’s specific injury. He was spotted using a scooter to get around in late December, approximately one month after suffering the injury. Some rumblings are suggesting he had surgery, but this is unconfirmed.
Despite reading several different articles, I have not been able to find a diagnosis regarding this injury. One consistent, has been a repeated call to be an injury to Hockenson’s ankle and not his foot.
Traditionally, ankle injuries seem to do better than foot injuries. The possible options for ankle injury that would end a season and require surgery, include severe high-ankle sprain, ankle fracture, and ankle fracture-dislocation. With more clarity of the damage, there can be a precise evaluation and recommendation.
A rookie tight end in fantasy football works as well as a car without gas. Sometimes you get a sputter for the most part it doesn't go anywhere. Hockenson showed zero movement. He would finish with 32 receptions for 367 yards and two touchdowns. That is just 25 more receptions and 236 yards and two touchdowns in 11 games after his monster Week 1 performance.
Now, Hockenson will have to recover from surgery which will make his transitioning more challenging. It is evident that Hockenson has the talent as his college tape and high-draft pick demonstrate.
The offensive line is below average. They are going to have two new starters as Halapoulivaati Vaati replaces Rick Wagner and Joe Dahl steps-in for Graham Glasgow. Rookie, Jonah Jackson will also compete with Dahl for the vacated spot.
Sports Injury Predictor calculates that Hockenson has a 39.8% chance of injury in 2020, which translates to 3.1% chance of injury per game. This score may change when we learn more about the severity of his ankle injury/surgery.
With so much uncertainty regarding this injury, I will give Hockenson a risk score of 6 out of 10, placing him in the moderate risk range. That is subject to change depending on the exact diagnosis.
T.J. Hockenson is in bust-mode to start the 2020 season. His complete collapse after Week 1 and injury status is not something most people inspire to bring on their roster. However, all he has is upside and if he can prove to the Lions he is worth the eighth pick in the first round, he could finish as a TE1 with a TE15 price tag.
Injury Risk: Moderate. 6/10.
|Projected Missed||Probability of injury per game ?||Probablity of injury in the season ?|
|Nov 28, 2019||Pedal Ankle Sprain Grade 2||He suffered a season-ending ankle injury in the game vs. the Chicago Bears|
|Sep 29, 2019||Head Cranial Concussion Grade 1||He was carted off the field during the game against the Chiefs landing hard on his right shoulder and head. With a BYE the following week he didn't miss any games because of the injury|