It is officially draft month and the New Orleans Saints will be on the clock on April 27th with the 29th overall pick. New Orleans had a blaring need at the quarterback position coming into the offseason with Andy Dalton heading to free agency. The Saints were able to sign Derek Carr to a multi-year deal and bring back Jameis Winston as another viable option at quarterback. Even with the signings, the door isn’t completely closed that New Orleans could still look at taking a quarterback in the NFL Draft. According to Ian Rapoport, Tennessee QB Hendon Hooker is flying today for a visit to the Saints tomorrow.
#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
Hendon Hooker Shines During His Collegiate Career:
Hooker began his collegiate career at Virginia Tech before transferring to Tennessee before the start of the 2021 season. The talented quarterback wouldn’t see any action during his freshman campaign in 2017 and he decided to redshirt. The 2018 season would be similar for Hooker as he continued to see limited action with the Hokies as he played in six games for Virginia Tech during the season.
He would have his first collegiate score against William & Mary where he took it for a 69-yard rushing touchdown. Hooker would take the reigns at starting quarterback heading into the 2019 season for Virginia Tech and he would not disappoint. The Greensboro, North Carolina native completed 99 passes for 1,555 yards with 13 touchdowns and only two interceptions. He would also add 123 times for 356 yards with five touchdowns.
Hooker would continue to produce in a shortened 2020 season and was the starting quarterback for the Hokies seven contests. His best game of the 2020 season came against Louisville where he passed for 183 yards and ran for three touchdowns against the Cardinal. He decided to transfer to Tennessee and he would make an instant impact for the Volunteers.
In 2021, Hooker racked up 3,561 yards of total offense and became one of the top players in the SEC. The 2022 season would be Hooker’s best as he was one of the top quarterbacks in the country. He earned SEC Player of the Year honors and finished fifth in Heisman Trophy voting. Hooker was able to produce 3,565 yards of total offense. He became just the fifth Volunteer to pass for over 3,000 yards in a single season.
Hendon Hooker Scouting Report:
There is a lot to like about Hooker heading into the 2023 NFL Draft and especially the marquee season that he is coming off of at Tennessee. There is an injury concern with Hooker as he suffered a torn ACL against South Carolina that would limit his time heading into the 2023 season, but when he is healthy he is one of the best quarterbacks in the nation. Hear from Pro Football Network, on what intangibles that Hooker can bring to a team at the next level:
“Hooker has very good arm strength. The Tennessee QB can generate solid amounts of velocity with relative ease on a crisp, slingshot release. He brings great velocity generation in the short and intermediate ranges and maintains a tight spiral.
To that end, Hooker doesn’t appear strained when generating velocity in those ranges. He has the arm strength to fit the ball into tight pockets outside the numbers with pace.
Going a step further, Hooker’s arm is both strong enough and noticeably elastic. He’s shown he can mix pace and touch on his throws to a degree. He’s not a purely linear thrower and can drop passes into buckets after launching with good velocity.”
The strengths that Hooker can bring is that he has shown the ability to get the ball down the field and he has a quick release when he gets rid of the ball. It isn’t expected that the Saints would take him with the 29th overall pick in the draft, but Hooker should be available when New Orleans is on the clock with their second round pick. Hooker has the experience and the talent that would be a perfect fit with the black and gold.
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