Expectations are seemingly rising by the day for Detroit Lions third-year tight end T.J. Hockenson.
The 2019 first-round pick of the Lions (No. 8 overall) is coming off a Pro Bowl campaign, during which he amassed 67 receptions for 723 yards and six touchdowns in 16 games.
So, many Detroit fans and pundits alike are expecting Hockenson to take another step forward this upcoming season, with the thought that he's on the verge of becoming a perennial Pro Bowl TE.
Add first-year Detroit offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn to that ever-growing list. He told reporters Thursday that he believes the 6-foot-5, 247-pounder "can be a matchup nightmare" for defenders in 2021.
"I have to be honest with you. Watching the tape last year, you know, I thought he was a good tight end. But, getting him here in person and just being around the young man, I think the sky's the limit for him, and I think he can be a matchup nightmare," Lynn said. "I love the way he's working right now. His work ethic is off the charts. But, just his explosion, his route savvy, ability to get open, read coverages, it's been really good and impressive."
Hockenson, with the Lions' receivers room not being nearly as strong as it was a year ago, has the opportunity to emerge even further on to the scene in his junior season as a pro.
Detroit's pass-catchers group has since been depleted, most notably with the offseason departures of Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones Jr.
Subsequently, Hockenson has a chance to be the go-to target in Lions signal-caller Jared Goff's first season in the Motor City.
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And, already working in favor of Hockenson is the fact that he worked out with Goff earlier this offseason. The two got together in Huntington Beach, Calif., at a well-known quarterback training facility called 3DQB to start developing their chemistry with each other.
It could lead to a great connection between the new teammates.
Lynn has been pleased with what he's seen from Detroit's new starting quarterback so far in Organized Team Activities.
"He's doing fine. He's learning the system. He's picking it up pretty fast, and boy, his arm strength is really good," Lynn said. "You know, he's thrown some really accurate balls. I thought he had his best practice yesterday (Wednesday), and hopefully, he just continues to get better."
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