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Lions sign first-round TE T.J. Hockenson to rookie deal

T.J. Hockenson is under contract in Detroit.

The Lions announced Thursday that they signed their first-round selection to his rookie contract, along with second-round linebacker Jahlani Tavai and fifth-round cornerback Amani Oruwariye.

Detroit selected Hockenson, the top tight end in the 2019 NFL Draft, eighth overall out of Iowa. He is the fourth 2019 first-round pick to be signed after Green Bay's Rashan Gary and Darnell Savage and Atlanta's Kaleb McGary.

Hockenson was the highest tight end selected since the San Francisco 49ers chose Vernon Davis at No. 6 in 2006. The Iowa pass-catcher is the second tight end selected by Detroit in the top 10 in five seasons; the Lions snagged Eric Ebron at No. 10 in 2014.

In Detroit, Hockenson will likely start right away alongside former Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Jesse James, whom the Lions inked to a four-year deal in March.

The Lions saw very little production from their tight ends in 2018; Levine Toilolo, Luke Willson and Michael Roberts combined for 43 receptions, 450 receiving yards and four scores. By signing James and drafting Hockenson, Detroit is hoping tight end develops from a position of weakness to one of the league's stronger units.

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