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Todd McShay breaks down why Hendon Hooker could rise into first round despite injury

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Todd McShay breaks down why Hendon Hooker could rise into first round despite injury

There has been a lot of debate surrounding Tennessee Volunteers‘ former quarterback Hendon Hooker and where he will be drafted in the 2023 NFL Draft. Because of Hooker’s age and his unfortunate ACL injury towards the back end of his season, some have him slotted as a fringe second-round pick.

Getting a quality quarterback, such as the Volunteers’ former signal caller, in the second round would be ideal for just about every team in search of a quarterback now or within the next two to three years. But according to ESPN’s Todd McShay, if you like Hooker in the second round, your best bet is to get him in the first. And the ESPN draft expert explained his reasoning behind that thinking during a recent media conference call.

“Listen, here’s the deal. The round in which quarterbacks have been drafted the least, only two times in the last five years, is the second round,” said McShay. “And the reason is, if you believe and have a second-round grade on the quarterback, you try to take him in the first to get that fifth-year option. And with Hendon coming off the ACL surgery after the injury; yes, he’s 25 years old (and) turns 26 in January of his rookie year. But, seeing his improvement year over and knowing that he’s going to have a learning curve, in terms of going from that scheme at Tennessee… I think that he could use a year. To me, I would draft him late in the first if you’re a team like Minnesota or a team like Seattle trying to trade back in. Because you’re gonna get that fifth-year.”

If you’re a fan of an NFL franchise that is looking at Hooker and not completely sold on McShay’s explanation, he also brought a recent example and cautionary tale to further submit his thinking.

In the 2020 NFL Draft, the Philadelphia Eagles took what most viewed as a chance, selecting quarterback Jalen Hurts in the second round when others had him graded as a third-round pick. That investment proved to be successful for Philadelphia as he led them to the Super Bowl after they moved on from former starter Carson Wentz. But because they drafted Hurts in the second and not the first round, it ended up costing them this offseason.

“It was phenomenal with the Eagles did drafting Jalen Hurts in the second round and having the foresight to do so and develop him. They winded up trading Carson Wentz after they just gave Carson Wentz a boatload of money (and) a long-term contract. And Carson Wentz didn’t live up to it.

“My point is, had they taken him late in the first round instead of it picked what 53 overall, or whatever it was, they would have an additional year. So they would have been able to do that deal that they just did, which is a great deal for both sides, a year from now. And it would’ve bought them extra time to maybe sign like a Javon Hargrave that they lost in free agency. So it’s really important to teams to draft the quarterback that they have in the first or early to mid-second round in the first round so they get that extra year.”

Prior to his injury, Hooker was viewed as a likely first-round pick and quite possibly the top quarterback to be selected in the 2023 NFL Draft. Given how he was viewed before rupturing his ACL and the information provided by McShay; if a franchise has him as a solid second-round pick, your best bet is to take him in the first. That extra year under contract can go a long way into building a roster with a quarterback still on their rookie contract. A recipe that has been successful in the NFL as of late.

The post Todd McShay breaks down why Hendon Hooker could rise into first round despite injury appeared first on On3.

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