This 2019 NFL Draft prospect preview will be highlighting the best matchup from every New Years Day bowl game, focusing on players the Detroit Lions most likely will be interested in.
Key matchup: Montez Sweat (EDGE, MSU, 6-6, 246) vs. T.J. Hockenson (TE, Iowa, 6-4, 250, redshirt sophomore)
Ok, I’m cheating here a bit as they players will only occasionally matchup when Hockenson stays in to block Sweat — who led the SEC in sacks with 10.5 — but when they collide it will be a contest worthy of NFL scouts time.
Sweat has the height and length for the Lions down defensive end position but his weight may be an issue. Scouts will be evaluating if he can add weight and improve his run defense.
This season’s John Mackey Award winner for the top tight end in the nation, Hockenson is a balanced tight end who excels as a blocker but is also a weapon in the passing game. He has not yet announced his decision on if he will declare for the draft or return to school.
Hockenson and his teammate Noah Fant (TE, Iowa, 6-5, 240) — who has declared for the draft and is electing to sit out this game — are arguably the top two tight ends in the draft. Fant is a freaky athlete who can stretch the field and is a matchup problem up the seam. Both should be selected in the top-50 picks.