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Five Teams Have Met ‘Extensively’ With Hendon Hooker: Where’s the Best Fit?

Heisman

(Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)

(Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)

Five Teams Have Met “Extensively” With Hendon Hooker: Where’s the Best Fit?

Per The Draft Network’s analyst Ryan Fowler, five NFL teams have met “extensively” with Tennessee Volunteers quarterback Hendon Hooker. Which of those five teams are the best fit for Hooker and his skillset?

Amongst the teams that Fowler mentioned in his tweet, only one has a starting-caliber quarterback under contract: the Dallas Cowboys. The Las Vegas Raiders, New York Giants, Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints round out the list.

Hooker tore his ACL in November. Fowler added in his tweet that Hooker should be ready by training camp. Before the injury, Hooker balled out for the Vols, passing for 3,195 yards and a 27-to-2 touchdown-to-interception ratio.

Let’s get into the best fits for the Tennessee star quarterback.

Dallas Cowboys

Dallas would be drafting Hendon Hooker to be a backup … for now.

Let’s remember, Jerry Jones did say he would select a quarterback in this year’s draft. Clearly, Jones likes what he sees from this draft class. Dak Prescott, earning the amount he is earning, is the starting quarterback for Dallas. Will Dallas evaluate Prescott and potentially draft his replacement?

Some may be thinking, what about Cooper Rush? Well, he is an unrestricted free agent and could get a lot of money from a team not named the Cowboys. Dallas doesn’t exactly have a ton of room to retain Rush, since they are already short on cap space.

I like the fit here. Dallas could groom Hooker to one day soar as a Cowboy. Also, drafting Hooker could put a fire beneath Prescott’s ass.

The question is: How high are they willing to draft him? Probably not as high as other teams.

Fit grade: B+

Las Vegas Raiders

The Derek Carr era is over in Las Vegas and the Raiders are right in the thick of the quarterback market.

Vegas’ quarterback room is basically empty, with quarterback Jarrett Stidham entering free agency. The door is wide open to pairing a new quarterback with Josh McDaniels.

The odds that Hooker is even available to start in Week 1 aren’t very high. I think they would be more confident in a free agent or trade acquisition starting immediately.

Because of this, I see Vegas as an unlikely landing spot for Hooker. They are extremely quarterback hungry, and I bet they take one in the first round at seventh overall, or they hit the free agent or trade market.

Fit grade: C-

New York Giants

The Giants’ hopes and dreams will be riding on how much money Daniel Jones demands this upcoming offseason.

I would assume the Giants would rather pay Jones than draft a quarterback at this point. They also have Tyrod Taylor if Jones decides to stay.

If they put the franchise tag on Jones, which I believe is likely, then drafting Hooker makes more sense: groom the young quarterback if Jones doesn’t want to or can’t stay. If they sign Jones, drafting Hooker makes no sense. If they let Jones walk, they should probably draft a quarterback with either their first or second-round pick.

Brian Daboll can make any quarterback look good, I think we’ve established that. Hooker’s chances of being drafted to Big Blue rides on Daniel Jones’ offseason decision.

Fit grade: Who Knows?

Carolina Panthers

Hooker is a North Carolina native, and this draft might be the perfect time for Hooker to head home.

The Panthers have no quarterback under contract besides Matt Corral. Sam Darnold, their quarterback for most of last year, is a free agent, along with P.J. Walker.

This team has needed a quarterback since Cam Newton‘s shoulder became chopped liver.

If Carolina does not draft a quarterback at ninth overall, they should seriously consider Hooker in the second or third round. It would be hard to envision the Panthers not drafting a quarterback at 9, though.

For that reason, I think Carolina passes on Hooker. It doesn’t surprise me that they are looking at every quarterback available, however. They really need one.

If something catastrophic happens and Carolina doesn’t have a signal caller after day 1, they should very seriously consider Hooker. But for now, it’s unlikely.

Fit grade: C+

New Orleans Saints

The Jameis Winston experience didn’t quite work out for the Saints. They publically announced that by starting Andy Dalton for the bulk of last season.

It’s time for New Orleans to draft a starting quarterback, and I love the fit of Hendon Hooker.

The Saints have the 29th pick in this draft, which is important to remember. Hooker probably will be available at that 29th pick.

New Orleans isn’t obligated to compete right now. They have time to groom a guy like Hooker to be great in a few seasons. They aren’t as desperate as some other teams on this list.

Four former Tennessee Volunteers are currently Saints. New Orleans clearly digs Knoxville. If I was a betting man, I’d take New Orleans to draft Hooker in either the second or third rounds.

Fit grade: A

It will be hard to decipher the beginning of Hendon Hooker’s NFL career. The ACL injury is one that will certainly turn off Hooker from being a top-15 pick. Some teams may lose out on great talent because of that.

Honestly, I think Hooker might be a better prospect than some of these guys that are getting mocked as top-of-the-draft picks.

Hooker is a low-floor high ceiling talent. Someone will draft this guy in the first two rounds.

***

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