It should be fairly obvious after the moves already made in 2019 that the New York Giants are going all-in on the running game. They have also committed significant resources to rebuilding their offensive line, but they have yet to lock down the right tackle position. If cap restraints knock the Giants, out of the free agency market and there is a run on offensive tackles early in the 2019 NFL Draft, the team could look to draft a high-level tight end to help Chad Wheeler.
Contrary to the popular narrative, Evan Engram is a capable blocker and finished the season with no blown blocks, but he is misused in-line. And while the team has Rhett Ellison for that role, but he could be a cap casualty. In this scenario, the Giants could look to Iowa’s T.J. Hockenson to add a physical and highly athletic presence as an in-line tight end for their 12-personnel packages.
- Prototypical size and frame.
- Excellent athlete.
- Punishing blocker with solid technique.
- Good route runner and receiver.
- Able to play anywhere in the offensive formation.
- Scheme diverse. Able to play in any running or passing scheme.
- Needs more patience blocking in space.
- Could be more consistent high-pointing the ball.
What They’re Saying
In a draft that feels light on high-end talent, Hockenson is an ascending talent with a chance to become one of the best all-around tight ends in the game. He should continue to fill out his athletic frame, but he’s already a sound in-line blocker with the toughness to sustain and finish. His above-average athleticism and separation burst will help him win against linebackers while his body control and hands give him an advantage over safeties. Hockenson has standout talent and fits any scheme, but he could be coveted early by teams looking to delve more heavily in 12-personnel (two TE packages).
- Lance Zierlein
”Freaky athlete. I thought he would go back, but I’m glad he didn’t. I think he will beat Alabama (Irv Smith, Jr.) off the board first.” -- Pro personnel director for NFC team
(NFL.com - Scouting Report)
Does He Fit The Giants?
With T.J. Hockenson, it isn’t a matter of whether or not he fits a team’s offense. If a team has an offensive scheme he doesn’t fit, it’s more likely that they need a new offensive scheme.
Hockenson is a complete tight end with size and physicality, an excellent run blocker and high upside as a receiver. It is difficult to find actual weaknesses in Hockenson’s game, and those few that can be found should be fixed by coaching at the next level.
For the Giants, the bigger question is whether or not they should spend the 17th overall selection on a tight end. In the right scenario, where there is a run on offensive tackles between the sixth and seventeenth picks, Hockenson could be in play. While he isn’t an offensive lineman, he is a better blocker than many starting tackles in the NFL, and would make for a potentially devastating combination with Evan Engram in a 12-personnel package. Selecting Hockenson would also make Rhett Ellison expendable for additional cap relief.
Of course, it is also possible that he doesn’t even make it that far, but it is difficult to see him lasting out of the first round.