Incredible Stat Proves Why Lions’ Top UDFA Could Crack Roster

Hunter Bryant

Getty Hunter Bryant makes a catch against Oregon.

The Detroit Lions may have been able to strike gold when they picked up tight end Hunter Bryant as an undrafted free agent following the 2020 NFL Draft.

Bryant, one of the top pass catching tight ends in the draft, was not selected and it was a bit of a surprise considering he has major talent. Another stat that was presented shows how that talent manifests itself on the football field, and proves the Lions may have scored a major impact maker for their offense in the process.

As Pro Football Focus explained, Bryant collected over 7 receptions of 20+ yards downfield in 2019, which was the highest total of any Power 5 conference tight end last season.

Looking beyond the numbers, it’s clear Bryant could give the Lions another deep threat to stretch the field. Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones and Marvin Hall already do the same thing at wide receiver, and getting Bryant into this mix gives the Lions a potentially potent deep ball option at tight end in order to stretch the field further.

Bryant could be more of a wideout than a tight end at the next level, but no matter what position he plays, seeing his ability to score completions of over 20 yards is an amazing sight for the team’s offense. Players like this are in high demand across the NFL.

Hunter Bryant Stats

Bryant, expected to be the biggest prize in the undrafted free agency period, comes to the Lions as a very productive tight end out of Washington. The Lions depth at the position behind T.J. Hockenson and Jesse James is a bit thin, so Bryant would add a little bit with his ability to go up and make catches. In college, Bryant put up 1,394 yards and 5 touchdowns, but 6-2 size means he could be a solid pass catching option for the team at the position. He should have a great chance at sticking on the roster.

Bryant has shown the big play ability at tight end as this stat proves, which makes him a player to watch even as he was undrafted to start his NFL career.

Lions’ Tight End T.J. Hockenson Getting Healthy

Another reason in addition to Bryant that the Detroit passing attack could be special? T.J. Hockenson. The tight end had a promising rookie season cut short by injury, but now he is looking set to make a big return and is on track to do so according to his offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell.

Speaking a few weeks back, Bevell was asked about Hockenson and said that he is running routes and while he might not be fully healed, he is progressing well toward that goal.

Detroit needs Hockenson to be able to contend in 2020, and if he is healthy, that would be a big plus for the Lions and their offense. Detroit has had a virtual offseason to this point, and it will be interesting to see where Hockenson is at when the team gets back together as potentially expected in late July.

As it sounds from this update, Hockenson should be a go at that point.

T.J. Hockenson’s Role With Lions

There is simply no understating the importance of Hockenson to the Lions in the future. The team didn’t get much of anything from any of the other tight ends on their roster, and while he hasn’t had the most dramatic statistical impact, Hockenson has easily been one of the team’s top rookies in 2019 and a player capable of impacting both the run and the passing games.

During the season, many fans chided Hockenson for not making a bigger impact on the game. He had only 367 yards and 2 touchdowns on the year which is not the statistical impact that many people expected from him as a top 10 selection for the team.

Safe to say if Hockenson was able to play the end of the season, his stats could have ended up different. The Lions will hope he can get things on the right track for 2020.

Adding a player with the big play ability like Bryant to complement a player like Hockenson could be huge for the Lions and their future. The numbers show he is capable of making the big play for the offense at the next level.

READ NEXT: Lions Ownership Must Prioritize Calvin Johnson Reunion