Surprise candidate to be third QB taken will get GMs fired |

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There is a chance former Tennessee star Hendon Hooker could be the third quarterback taken in the 2023 NFL Draft.

Although there is a lot to like about Hendon Hooker coming out of Tennessee, him potentially being the third quarterback taken in the 2023 NFL Draft is absolute insanity.

James Palmer of The NFL Network reported on Friday Hooker is QB3 on some teams’ big boards. He suggests there is a gap between the top two quarterback prospects in the draft in Alabama’s Bryce Young and Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud and the other two projected to go inside of the top 10 in Kentucky’s Will Levis and Florida’s Anthony Richardson. Hooker feels like a first-round prospect.

Keep in mind Hooker’s Tennessee career ended with a torn ACL in a terrible loss to South Carolina.

It should be noted that Hooker has already had visits with the Detroit Lions, the Las Vegas Raiders and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, all of whom could take a quarterback in the first round. Hooker is slated to meet with the Green Bay Packers, the New Orleans Saints, the Tennessee Titans and the Washington Commanders. It would not be shocking if the Minnesota Vikings were on him as well.

While I have no issues with Hooker going in the first round, I cannot see him going ahead of both Richardson and Levis. He was the better player of the two in the same conference. However, he is closer to his ceiling as a prospect already, played in a variation of the Air Raid that may not translate to the next level and is 25 years old. He is a likable guy, but let’s not outthink the room.

Whatever franchise takes Hooker as the third quarterback off the board may have to fire everyone.

Former Tennessee star Hendon Hooker could be third QB taken in 2023 NFL Draft

From a leadership standpoint, arm talent perspective and all the other intangible aspects of being the face of the franchise, Hooker certainly has them. However, NFL teams have to understand he is not a top-10 talent. While I think he would do well with the in-state Titans at No. 11, they did use a third-round pick on Malik Willis out of Liberty last year, who still has much higher upside.

To put it bluntly, Hooker is this draft’s Kenny Pickett. He is a player who was easy to root for, no matter where your college football allegiances lie. Staying in school longer than four years aided in his development. His game can work in the NFL, but he has to go to the right team with the right culture in place. Keep in mind Pickett went to the Pittsburgh Steelers at No. 20 in last year’s draft.

The reason why Hooker being QB3 this year is so controversial is there is a chance either Levis or Richardson could hit. The draft may be a total crapshoot, but the physical traits both Levis and Richardson possess could flourish in the right system. At the very least, you are looking at a Jay Cutler or a Vince Young as what those two prospects could turn into, possibly being even better.

What I’m trying to say is this. You cannot let a good story and sentimental attachments get in the way of making the right pick. Sure, general managers will have to weigh the risk and reward components of taking either Levis or Richardson. However, teams like the Seattle Seahawks and the Lions are better equipped to take on a risk, as opposed to franchises like the Raiders or the Colts.

Ultimately, I think it is way more likely Hooker goes ahead of Levis than Richardson. All three should go in the top 16 or so. However, I feel the allure of Richardson being the next Josh Allen or Cam Newton makes him the easy choice to be the third quarterback taken. For that reason, I don’t think he makes it past the Raiders picking at No. 7. Someone will potentially trade up for him, too.

Teams may have strong convictions in what Hooker can do, but the upside is not there to be QB3.

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