Iowa has two tight ends in this year’s draft. There’s a good chance that they are both first round picks. The one that will most likely go first is TJ Hockenson. NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah called Hockenson the safest prospect in the entire draft. With this year probably being Jimmy Graham’s last in Green Bay, it might be time to invest a high draft pick into the tight end position.
For one, Hockenson passes the eyeball test. He is 6’5, 250 pounds. To put it in perspective, Rob Gronkowski is 6’6, 265 pounds. He is very, very athletic, especially for someone of his size. He is a good route runner, and has very good ball skills. He ran a 4.7 second forty-yard dash. He also had a vertical jump of almost 38 inches. Pair that 6’5 frame with a 37.5-inch vertical and you’ve got a matchup nightmare. Because he’s so skilled as a pass catcher, it often gets overlooked that he too is an above average blocker.
As Daniel Jeremiah said, he is the safest player in the draft. With that being said, it can be hard to find a lot of weaknesses in his game. His forty time at the combine wasn’t terrible, but other tight ends were faster, including his teammate Noah Fant. This next weakness may be knit picking, but frame should allow him to add some more muscle. Watching some of his highlights, there isn’t much this guy does wrong. He is definitely worth a first round pick.
When will he be drafted?
The consensus is that Hockenson will be the first tight end drafted and he will be a first round pick. Where in the first round? If I was betting on it, I’d guess he will taken somewhere between 15 and 25.
How does he fit the Packers?
The Packers haven’t had a consistent force at tight end since Jermichael Finley, and even that was short lived due to his injury. Hockenson would make an immediate impact and start right away. The odds are he won’t be there when the Packers are picking at 30. If the Packers want Hockenson, they will have to use the 12th pick. With the additions the Packers made in free agency, I would be completely on board with taking Hockenson in the first round. Do the Packers see the value to take him at that early? Time will tell.