T.J. Hockenson reacts to being picked by the Lions, and explains why he wore Lion King socks to the draft in Nashville, Tenn. on April 25, 2019. Detroit Free Press
"That's the right guy," Lions coach Matt Patricia said in nodding approval after the Lions made T.J. Hockenson the No. 8 pick in Thursday's NFL draft.
The Lions posted video on social media Friday of the phone call general manager Bob Quinn made to Hockenson to let him know he was going to be the team's first-round choice.
Quinn asked Hockenson if he wanted to be a Lion, passed the phone to Patricia, who said he was "very excited" to have the Iowa tight end on board, and after Lions owner Martha Firestone Ford got off the phone with Hockenson, Patricia congratulated the room to applause all around.
"He’s everything that we want as far as culture fit, great player, hard worker," Patricia said. "Tough guy, everything that we’re going to want to build this program around."
Check out the video:
Lions general manager Bob Quinn echoed those comments publicly in his news conference after Round 1, but the video confirmed a number of things we thought about the Lions and their selection of Hockenson.
Quinn half apologized to Hockenson for not having more contact with him during the pre-draft process, an approach he's taken with previous first-round picks Taylor Decker, Jarrad Davis and Frank Ragnow.
"I know we haven’t had a lot of communication," Quinn said. "We did that on purpose cause we really liked you, so really excited to get you up here."
Patricia, later in the video, said he was excited to keep the Iowa "pipeline going" and that "we love Iowa guys and we can't wait to get you up here."
Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz has a long relationship with New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick, and Hawkeyes tight ends coach Brian Ferentz worked with Patricia and Quinn in New England.
Finally, Patricia told Hockenson that he was excited to "build (the offense) around you" as the Lions continue to move towards a more ground-oriented attack.
"We have a really good offense and we need a guy like you to kind of complete it," Quinn told Hockenson. "Like everything about you. I talked to Coach Ferentz last night about you for a while, so he told me everything that I need to know and all my scouts and all our coaches love you so really excited to have you here."