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Multiple NFL teams reportedly very high on Tennessee QB Hendon Hooker

Teams across the National Football League are finalizing their boards before the 2023 NFL Draft. While there is plenty of consensus regarding the top of the 2023 quarterback class, there is plenty of debate about the rest of the field and a lot of buzz surrounding Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker.

Ohio State star C.J. Stroud and Alabama’s Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young are the projected top-two picks, with the only conversation focused on who each of the Carolina Panthers and Houston Texans prefer. Much like the NFL Draft itself, things get more interesting at the third spot of the draft.

  • Hendon Hooker stats (Tennessee): 58-5 TD-INT, 178.3 QB rating, 6,080 passing yards, 68.8% completion rate, 1,046 rushing yards in 24 games

When the pre-draft process started, many viewed Kentucky’s Will Levis as the third-best quarterback in the 2023 class. However, a record-setting performance by Anthony Richardson at the combine and an excellent interview cycle have now sparked more debate.

While many now view Young, Stroud, Richardson and levis as the clear top four quarterbacks in this year’s pool, there are reportedly some clubs around the league who see things very differently.

According to NFL.com’s James Palmer, there are ‘plenty’ of NFL teams who believe Hooker is a better quarterback prospect than Levis and Richardson. Furthermore, there is a belief around the league that Hooker could be a first-round pick.

Related: Green Bay Packers holding pre-draft visit with Hendon Hooker

Before suffering a torn ACL, Hooker was one of the best quarterbacks in college football. He beat the Crimson Tide, put Tennessee in the College Football Playoff hunt and was the favorite to win the Heisman Trophy before suffering the season-ending knee injury.

Hooker’s recovery from surgery hasn’t allowed him to show off his skills to NFL teams in recent months. However, he is one of the most popular players for pre-draft visits and his interviews have gone well. As a result, clubs are seeing more of the player that ESPN’s Todd McShay is high on.

Related: Hendon Hooker scouting report

“He can be a future franchise quarterback based off the tape and the improvement the last two years that he showed at Tennessee.”

ESPN’s NFL Draft analyst Todd McShay on Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker (H/T SEC Network)

Because of the ACL surgery, Hooker won’t be available for the start of the 2023 NFL season and would likely begin his rookie year on the PUP list. Fortunately, the expectation is he should be recovered later this fall and could be back on the practice field in time to get reps before the 2023 season concludes.

It makes him an ideal target for teams like the Las Vegas Raiders, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Detroit Lions and Seattle Seahawks. Hooker could sit out next season, using his rookie year to learn from a veteran quarterback and devote himself to learning a team’s system. If all goes well, he could then challenge for the starting job in 2024.

Related: NFL insider names three teams who could draft Hendon Hooker in Round 1

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