The New Orleans Saints may have signed Derek Carr as their new starting quarterback, but they aren’t leaving any stone unturned at the position.
They are using this week to take a look at one of college football’s top signal callers as Tennessee’s Hendon Hooker is flying in for a visit.
#Tennessee QB Hendon Hooker is flying today for a visit to the #Saints tomorrow, source said. Coming off a clean ACL tear, Hooker’s prospects for the 2023 season are positive. New Orleans picks 29th.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 3, 2023
Hooker produced 3,135 passing yards and 27 touchdowns with just two interceptions while completing 69.6 percent of his passes in 2022.
Add another 430 yards on the ground with five rushing touchdowns, Hooker earned himself first-team All-SEC as well as SEC Offensive Player of the Year honors and it put him at the top of the list of Heisman candidates.
Unfortunately for Hooker, he suffered a torn ACL in a loss to the South Carolina Gamecocks last November which ended his collegiate career.
Of course, this type of injury will make teams cautious about taking a player in the NFL draft, especially at quarterback.
There’s the age factor thing with Hooker as well. Hooker is 25 due to spending three years at Virginia Tech before transferring to Tennessee.
Don’t tell NFL Network’s draft guru Daniel Jeremiah that though. In an appearance on the Pat McAfee Show in February, Jeremiah pounded the table for him.
Fill In The Blank ????
Hendon Hooker should get drafted by The *blank*
— TPL Tennessee (@TPLTennessee) April 3, 2023
“I don’t like there’s been enough talk about him,” Jeremiah said. “I think with all the age and injury, look, you should be thinking about things in terms of four and five years in the NFL, everything can change. If you tell me right now that I’m gonna get four, five, six years of really above average, borderline, close to elite quarterback play, who cares if a guy is older? take it.”
Hooker completed 68% of his passes and put up 2,945 yards and 31 touchdowns with just three interceptions to go along with 616 rushing yards and five more scores in 2021. So, he’s no one-year wonder by any means.
“The mental side of the game is at an all-time high. The physical side of the game, it looks easy because we make it look easy. It’s not because it’s just easy.” — Hendon Hooker on the criticisms of Tennessee’s offense pic.twitter.com/6FyLdMEm64
— zach ragan (@zachtnt) March 31, 2023
The Saints could address a more important roster spot and then snag Hooker on day two of the draft because of his injury. Or, with a fifth-year option available, they may want to get him in the first round.
New Orleans has different routes they could take to get Hooker but the interest is certainly there.