After registering a modest rookie season, tight end T.J. Hockenson produced this past season like everyone expected upon the Lions drafting him No. 8 overall in 2019.
The Iowa product caught 67 passes for 723 yards and six touchdowns to earn a Pro Bowl selection.
His new offensive coordinator believes it's just the beginning.
"T.J. did some nice things last year and I think his ceiling is even higher," Anthony Lynn said, per Tim Twentyman of the Lions' official site. "I know he made the Pro Bowl and all that, but he can play even better and that was the encouraging part. I like what I saw on tape. He's a good football player."
Lynn's history with tight ends suggests Hockenson could soon become a great one. The former Chargers head coach and Bills OC manifested the talents of Hunter Henry and Charles Clay at his previous stops. The 6-foot-5, 250-pound Hockenson is built similarly to Henry, only he's more athletic and a superior blocker.
He presents a mismatch that Lynn is already looking forward to exploiting.
"It creates a very unique matchup because you have linebackers and safeties covering that guy and if he's a stud, it's going to be a long day for you," Lynn said. "So if I force you to put a (defensive back) on that guy, then obviously you have a lighter box and you can run the football and you want to run the football into a lighter box.
"So, not only does it create matchups for you in the passing game but it also helps you in the run game."
Hockenson's versatility should also provide relief for new quarterback Jared Goff, who leaned heavily on his tight ends while with the Rams. The transition under center, on the coaching staff and in the front office marks a new era in Detroit. But the hope with Hockenson is that he builds on his formidable foundation.