ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) - The Detroit Lions addressed a pressing need, selecting tight end T.J. Hockenson with the No. 8 overall pick in the NFL draft.
Detroit was initially interested in trading its first-round pick Thursday night to acquire more selections, but they decided the Iowa star was too good of a player and too good of a fit to pass up.
The 6-foot-5, 251-pound Hockenson is highly regarded because of his combination of athleticism, receiving skills and blocking. He won the John Mackey Award last year, honoring the college football's top tight end. Hockenson had 73 receptions for 1,080 yards and nine receiving touchdowns in his career with the Hawkeyes.
The franchise needed to invest in pass-catching options for quarterback Matthew Stafford. Detroit had drafted only one receiver (Kenny Golladay) and one tight end (Michael Roberts) since selecting tight end Eric Ebron No. 10 overall in 2014. After releasing Ebron last year and failing to replace him, general manager Bob Quinn appeared to plug a hole in the offense.
The Lions may look to fill voids at wide receiver, offensive guard and safety during the draft Friday night and Saturday.
The Lions need all the help they can get after losing seven of their last 10 games under first-year coach Matt Patricia and finishing with double digits in losses for the first time since 2012. They went into the draft with fewer needs after making many moves in free agency.
Detroit signed Trey Flowers and re-signed Romeo Okwara to turn defensive end into potential strength. Wide receiver Danny Amendola, cornerbacks Justin Coleman and Rashaan Melvin, tight end Jesse James, and running back C.J. Anderson were also added to make the depth chart look better for Patricia's second season.
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4/25/2019 9:27:42 PM (GMT -4:00)