Four potential landing spots for Tennessee QB Hendon Hooker
from Jordan Epp, with YardBarker.com/www.yardbarker.com
In Daniel Jeremiah’s latest mock draft on NFL.com, the former scout has Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker(Dudley High School/Greensboro, N.C.) going to the Minnesota Vikings in the first round.
The plugged-in Jeremiah slotting him as a potential first-rounder may be a positive sign for Hooker, who comes with age (25) and injury concerns.
Hooker is still recovering from a torn left ACL suffered in November. He did not play in the Senior Bowl in February or work out at the NFL Scouting Combine earlier this month. When he’ll be able to play again is unknown.
When looking at potential fits, 2023 is less important than 2024. Here are four teams that could be good landing spots for Hooker in the 2023 NFL Draft (April 27-29).
Minnesota Vikings: With their first-round pick at No. 23, the Vikings could be in range to grab Hooker, whom Minnesota could “redshirt” for a rookie season behind Kirk Cousins and then have him primed for 2024. Cousins, who turns 35 in August, has only one year left on his contract. Head coach Kevin O’Connell, a former journeyman NFL QB, has a rep as a quarterback whisperer.
Tennessee Titans: The Titans, who lost their last seven games and finished 7-10 last season, could take a similar approach. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill is entering the final season of his four-year deal. Malik Willis, a 2022 third-round pick, did nothing to inspire confidence that he’s NFL worthy (50.8% completion percentage, zero TD passes) playing in place of the injured Tannehill.
A younger and cheaper starting QB makes sense for the Titans, who have begun gutting their roster. They could either wait until the second round and pick No. 41, trade down from No. 11 in the first round or trade up into the back of the first round to get Hooker.
Las Vegas Raiders: Hooker could also potentially spend a year learning behind Jimmy Garoppolo in Las Vegas. Although Garoppolo signed a three-year deal with the Raiders, his contract is structured so the team has an out after Year 1 with an $18.75 million dead cap hit. With 12 picks in the draft, Las Vegas has ammo for a move up for a second first-round pick.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The Bucs, looking for a QB after the Tom Brady era ended, recently signed Baker Mayfield to a one-year contract and have Kyle Trask on the third year of his four-year rookie deal. GM Todd Licht recently said the team would be “very comfortable” with Trask as starter, but he has thrown only nine passes in the NFL — all in mop-up duty last season.
Tampa Bay will select at No. 19 in the first round and No. 50 in the second round, but they could also be a prime candidate to trade up into the first for Hooker.
Hooker received positive medical news at the combine in early March, so he could be gaining traction in NFL circles, as indicated by Jeremiah.
#Tennessee QB Hendon Hooker, who tore his ACL in November, received positive medical reports here in Indy, sources say. He's three months after the operation and on track to be ready for the season opener.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 4, 2023