The Saints aren’t the quarterback of the 2023 NFL Draft, but their hook and bait are in the water anyway.
Wow! The New Orleans Saints have a quarterback of the future in Derek Carr, don’t they? right??
Not very fast.
About a month After signing Carr to bolster their quarterback unit For the next four years, New Orleans will reportedly host a projected late-round QB prospect on a visit: Tennessee’s Hendon Hooker.
“oh” is a very natural way to react to this news. Like “oh…. “I didn’t realize the Saints were looking for a replacement for Carr.” or “Oh…. Guess the Saints front office is more confused than we thought.
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport indicates that the Saints could use their 29th overall pick on Hooker, but that Nola may not be able to select a developmental prospect early in the draft. What exactly is the franchise thinking? Let’s pretend we’re in trouble for a moment in Dennis Allen’s office.
Saints walk a fine line between silly and sentimental with Tennessee QB Hendon Hooker
The Saints have Carr under contract for the next four years, and once he’s signed, it looks like all thoughts of NOLA drafting a quarterback early in 2023 are gone. But Carr’s contract was structured so that if the Saints wanted to take him, they would have one out after two years; If Carr doesn’t perform up to par, Nola would make the smart choice to draft a developmental talent like Hooker now and take over as a starter in 2025 or beyond.
Given that, the Saints may be devising a break-in-contingency plan to keep the team competitive even if Carr doesn’t meet their requirements in the next few years. That sounds reasonable enough, but taking a Plan Z quarterback late in the first round….feels like too much of a loss.
New Orleans hasn’t drafted a quarterback from a top-100 team since 2015, when the team was ranked No. 75 in Garrett Grayson.
He admits the franchise has suffered from quarterback instability since Drew Brees retired and could see a golden opportunity in 2023 to be considered the fifth-best quarterback in this year’s class.
Is Hooker worth that first round pick?
Hooker is coming off a season-ending ACL injury and is 25 years old, which is considered old for rookie quarterbacks.. Abstract network Hooker projects to be a fourth-round pick very similar to the Seahawks’ Geno Smith, and they’re not the only ones considering the former Volunteers as a Day 2 or 3 pick.
For the Saints to select Hooker in the first round, he would have to really impress the franchise during the visit. None of those one-throw wonder videos like Zach Wilson. Like, it’s seriously amazing, and he can’t do that given his current health.
Maybe hosting the Saints Hooker is just a tour, and nothing more. Maybe to light a fire under Derek Carr and make him play a little more angry in 2023, that he still has something to prove (he does).
Either way, New Orleans is walking a fine line between making a tough decision and landing the franchise quarterback of the future. The franchise swooped on first-round picks Chris Olave and Trevor Penning last year — although the original trade with the Eagles was questionable — so Dennis Allen and company will get the benefit of the doubt.