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TJ Hockenson’s OROY Odds Improve to +1200; Can He Become 1st TE to Win Award?

TJ Hockenson has some Lions fans thinking of Gronkowski. Photo from @CatchLikeCalvin (Twitter)
  • Sportsbooks are offering +1200 odds on Detroit Lions tight end TJ Hockenson winning the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year
  • No tight end has ever won the NFL OROY since the award was first introduced in 1967
  • The last Lions player to win the award was running back Barry Sanders in 1989

One week into his NFL career, Detroit Lions tight end TJ Hockenson has already made NFL history. Could he do it again at the end of the season?

Since the NFL first began presenting its Offensive Rookie of the Year Award in 1967, a tight end has never won the award. Might Hockenson be the first?

Sportsbooks aren’t completely ruling out the possibility. The sportsbook is offering +1200 odds on Hockenson in the NFL OROY odds.

2019-20 NFL OROY Award Odds

Player (Team) Odds
Kyler Murray (Cardinals) +210
Josh Jacobs (Raiders) +550
Marquise Brown (Ravens) +650
TJ Hockenson (Lions) +1200
Miles Sanders (Eagles) +1200

*Odds taken on 09/12/19. Follow link for complete list.

Hockenson and Philadelphia Eagles running back Miles Sanders are sportsbooks’ co-fourth betting choices.

Record Debut For Hockenson

Hockenson was the winner of the 2018 John Mackey Award as the top tight end in the NCAA. Still,  when the Lions selected Hockenson eighth overall in the 2019 NFL Draft, fans back in Detroit at the Lions draft party booed the choice.

They’ve quickly learned the error of that quick assessment.

In Detroit’s season-opening 27-27 tie at Arizona, Hockenson caught six balls for 131 yards and a touchdown. That was the most receiving yardage ever collected by a tight end in his NFL debut. Hockenson averaged 21.9 yards per catch and looked like a legitimate red zone threat.

The Lions felt that Hockenson was under-utilized as a receiver at Iowa. He had 760 yards in receptions for the Hawkeyes in 2018 but only caught as many as five balls in two games last season.

In the season opener, the Lions targeted their rookie tight end nine times.

Comparisons To Gronk

As a rookie with the New England Patriots in 2010, tight end Rob Gronkowski caught 42 passes, 10 of them for TDs. Football people often draws parallels between what Gronkowski brought to a football field and the attributes that Hockenson possesses.

Gronkowski was the tight end on the NFL All-Rookie Team in 2010. But Gronkowski didn’t get a single vote for for NFL OROY, which went to Rams quarterback Sam Bradford.

Lions Won The First NFL OROY

When the NFL introduced the OROY Award in 1967, the first winner was Lions running back Mel Farr. That same year, Lions cornerback Lem Barney won the inaugural NFL DROY.

Could Hockenson give the Lions another first, the first tight end to win the award?

Logic and history suggest probably not. But Hockenson was +2700 in the the NFL OROY odds. After one week, he’s jumped into a contender’s role.

Let’s face it, the award is Kyler Murray’s to lose. But let’s suppose the Arizona QB struggles in his rookie season.

Then it’s a wide-open race.

At +2700, Hockenson was a great price. At +1200, he’s still worth the risk of a small wager.

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