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Allen Park — When Detroit Lions fans assume about the team potentially deciding on yet another tight stop in the initially round they understandably split out in a cold sweat. 

In 2009, the team drafted Brandon Pettigrew at No. 20. He was solid, but by no means magnificent all through his 7-calendar year stint with the franchise. In 2014, the Lions took Eric Ebron at No. 10, the only tight stop chosen in the leading 10 the previous dozen many years. He too fell effectively shorter of anticipations. 

So even with the team’s glaring need at the place, these faithful fans scoff at the thought of Detroit using Iowa tight stop T.J. Hockenson with the eighth alternative this calendar year. Nevertheless, that’s particularly what Mel Kiper is projecting them to do in his most the latest mock draft

Why, when no one particular else is drafting tight finishes that early in the draft, and right after the Lions have gotten less-than-envisioned returns the two instances they’ve gone that route in the opening round, really should any individual believe the 3rd time is the allure? What helps make Hockenson more of a guaranteed wager than Ebron? 

“Effectively, he’s a blocker,” Kiper stated all through a Tuesday convention phone. “He will block, in-line, and support that operating sport. He’s a finish tight stop. He’s not a guy you flex out. He’s not just a excellent athlete who will capture the ball. He’ll do that, he is a gifted athlete, but he’ll also block. He’s constant. He’s a quarterback’s greatest pal. Which is what he was at Iowa this calendar year.”

More: Lions really should have electrical power-operating choices in middle rounds of NFL Draft

Shown at 6-foot-5, 250 lbs, the redshirt sophomore broke out final season, even with actively playing together with Noah Fant, who many considered the greatest tight stop prospect moving into the season.

But it was Hockenson who received the John Mackey Award as the nation’s greatest participant at the place, catching 49 passes for 760 yards and six touchdowns. He was the initially underclassman to make the honor in nearly two a long time.  

“I assume Hockenson, you just can’t seem at him as a one particular-dimensional, he’s a multi-dimensional tight stop,” Kiper stated. “He can do every thing you want and it would be a excellent asset for Matthew Stafford to have in that offense. 

“He’s variety of a throwback, but he has the capabilities to in shape in quite effectively in present-day NFL,” Kiper stated. “I assume he’s heading to be one particular of these guys who could skyrocket.”

In a mock draft a month previously, Kiper experienced Hockenson currently being taken No. 19. As the analyst discussed in the course of his hour-long phone, his altering viewpoints on prospective clients are fueled by talks with NFL conclusion-makers. Consensus view turns into clearer as the draft nears. There is certainly also an expectation Hockenson will exam effectively at the mix, even more bolstering his stock.

Twitter: @Justin_Rogers