Daniel Jeremiah singles out the Saints as a good fit for Tennessee QB Hendon Hooker

It didn’t take long for the New Orleans Saints to be linked to one of the most fascinating college prospects in the 2023 NFL draft. The Saints were one of a few teams reported to have had extensive contact with Tennessee Volunteers quarterback Hendon Hooker, and he has a big fan in NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah.

“I don’t feel like there’s been enough talk about Hendon Hooker,” Jeremiah said during an appearance on the Pat McAfee Show. “He’s a good player. I think with all the age and the 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 I’m going to get four, five, six years of really above-average, borderline, close to elite quarterback play, take it. Who cares if the guy is older? Take it man.”

Jeremiah outlined Hooker’s positive attributes: “To me his tape was really, really good. He’s accurate, he’s big, he can move around. We’ll see where he ends up going. To me I think if he didn’t get hurt we’re talking about him as a first-round pick.”

Hooker transferred to Tennessee after three years of sporadic appearances in Virginia Tech’s lineup, and he lit up Rocky Top with the Vols’ high-flying passing attack. He threw for 6,080 yards and scored 58 touchdown passes against just 5 interceptions across 24 games, completing 68.8% of his pass attempts (and averaging an impressive 9.6 yards per completion). He also added 1,033 rushing yards and 15 touchdown runs before a non-contact knee injury cut him down on the road against South Carolina in mid-November.

He’s on track to receive medical clearance by training camp, though Hooker won’t be able to throw and work out at the NFL Scouting Combine this week. Still, as Jeremiah pointed out, he wouldn’t be picked for his immediate impact in 2023. This is a farsighted move.

“I feel great about him, I’m curious to see (where he goes), he’s an intriguing guy,” Jeremiah continued. “I put him in my top-50, I think he’s probably in that second-round range. But I’m looking at a team, the Saints, right? You’re picking in there and he’s better than anybody you’ve got in there. I’d take him over Andy Dalton at this point in time. We already know what Jameis Winston is, good or bad or whatever. I’d take a shot on (Hooker).”

We’ll see whether that’s a popular opinion come April, but there’s already plenty of eyes on Hooker and New Orleans. He’s a common pick in the second or third round for the Saints in the latest round of media mock drafts, which makes sense given the gulf between this year’s top prospects and where New Orleans is slotted to pick in the first round (at No. 29 overall). If the second round is a realistic range for Hooker to be picked, he could be someone to watch closely when the Saints are on the board again at No. 40.

More 2023 NFL draft!

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Story originally appeared on Saints Wire