How Hooker's timeline to be cleared affects draft
Mike Florio and Chris Simms map out how Hendon Hooker’s ACL recovery will limit his options in the NFL draft, given he won’t be a main contributor this season.
- All right, Hendon Hooker, questions about his health given the fact that he tore an ACL in November. He had a doctor send-- and I think it was Dr. Neal Elattrache-- send a letter to all teams that he'll be cleared by the first weekend of the NFL season. Look, I don't expect him to play this year.
- He's a guy who's going to sit on the bench.
- That makes him perfect for the Titans. It makes him perfect for the Vikings. Those are the two teams that come to mind that have a starter that is, by all appearances, in his final year on the job. Let's get a guy ready for a year behind him. The Vikings went through that a couple of years ago with Kellen Mond. It didn't go very well, in large part because they had a regime change, and also the prior coaching staff had no use for Kellen Mond whatsoever.
And currently, the Vikings are indeed the favorites to draft Hendon Hooker +350, that's 3.5 to 1 odds, Houston at +505, 5 to 1, presumably with the 12th overall pick, Seattle +700, and the Titans 10 to 1. I feel like 10 to 1-- again, I'm not betting on anything, but that catches my eye that maybe the odds are a little skewed there because I think the Titans, in my mind, would be the most likely team to get him at this point.
- And another guy extremely intriguing. I mean, we got Stroud, Bijan Robinson, Jalen Carter, all these great players that have a little bit of a question about them. Hooker is the real deal. If Hooker doesn't have the knee injury, he's going in the top 10. I really believe that.
I talked to people around the NFL. Everybody likes Hendon Hooker, everybody. The problem with Hooker is that, like what you said, for some of these teams who do need a quarterback or want it to happen this year, yeah, he's not going to be able to play this year. He's not going to help your team this year. That's going to have to be one of those situations like you talked about, and that makes sense.
So whether-- the thing is, is anybody going to waste one of those top 12 picks on a guy that can't help them this year, or is it somebody like the Texans, or the Titans trade down, right? Or is it the Seahawks take him at 20? Or is it that the Vikings take him at 23?
Or is it, Mike, do we get the old, hey, teams at the top of the second round trade in to pick 31 to have that fifth-year option available, like the Titans who have pick-- let me just make sure-- 41, right? Or the Seattle Seahawks, who have picked 37. I certainly could see that being part of the Hendon Hooker conversation too where somebody trades up late to get him. OK, he's not going to play this year, but we've got the fifth year option here for him, and he's our guy, and we can have him for the future.
- It's funny that his age is an issue at 25. Look, if you get 10, 15 years out of the guy, it's a win.
- That's a win.
- Doesn't matter if he's starting at 25 or 21 or 23.
- I agree.
- If you get 10 years out of him, it's a win. Right now, the over/under for quarterbacks in round one is 4.5 Remember, there were 5 in 2018. There was only 1 last year. -80 is the over betting line for quarterbacks at 4.5. So the favorite is it goes over, and I think it does go over. Bryce Young, Will Levis, CJ Stroud, Anthony Richardson, and Hendon Hooker. Not necessarily in that order.
- But those are the five, and I think they're all going to get drafted tonight, even with only 31 picks.
- Yeah. I would have bet that too. I expect Hendon Hooker to get drafted as well. I'm with you there. So if you made me go, I'm going with the over as well and taking five quarterbacks.