Las Vegas Raiders 2023 7-round NFL Mock Draft: Combine Week edition
38. Hendon Hooker QB Tennessee
This is not the first time we have mocked Hendon Hooker to the Raiders and we are back barking up that same tree in this edition of the mock draft. Hooker was a Heisman finalist in this year’s class and looks to be one of the better prospects from a pure talent standpoint, but there are a few factors working against him.
The first is that he is coming off an ACL injury this year so he will not be able to participate in the drills at the combine or at his Pro Day so teams will have to rely on tape and outdated numbers for his drills. ACL injuries are nowhere near as serious as they used to be so that should be of minimal concern to the Raiders or any team looking to draft him.
The other more pressing concern perhaps is that he is an older prospect at 25 years old and if he is a developmental quarterback we may not see him as the regular starter for another year or so when he is 26 or 27. This is less of an issue than I think is made out to be because as fans we may think of decisions being made with the next ten years in mind but both Josh McDaniels and Dave Ziegler know that if they get this draft selection wrong they may not even have their jobs next season.
So if Hooker is good enough to become a high-level starting quarterback then his age should have no impact on his selection. Ideally, he would sit a year and learn under someone like Jarrett Stidham or Jacoby Brissett until he’s comfortable in the offense and he can contribute when he has a good grasp of the offense.
Hooker has all of the big-time statistics and big-time talent to be a great NFL quarterback and he is just enough of a threat with his legs to make defenses think twice when he is on the move. A team may fall in love with his skill set and take him at the end of the first round but if he is available with the 38th pick as he is in this mock, then the Raiders should make the move and draft him.