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Why should the Lions buy that Hendon Hooker is their future starter?




Goff 6 turnovers in 5 days have got some fans thinking about Hendon Hooker. I expect this team to turn it around and lose 1-3 games so I been thinking about next year. Goff will be on his final year and unless talks break down this is the time to negotiate an extension. This is also the time when Hendon Hooker will be ready to compete. While I was looking up articles to answer a hater I found some fascinating stuff on Hooker.

Touchdown Wire has Why you shouldn't hold Hendon Hooker's college offense against him.

Wright on why Hooker will succeed in the NFL: "First of all, he’s just so smart. He’s trying to find every way to win. He’ll even ask me sometimes, when we’re throwing this route, can you maybe jump set so [the defender will] get his hands down faster so I can throw it over the middle. I’m like I can do whatever you want me to do. He’s such a real leader. You have guys who are front runners who talk the talk but that gets blared out. You hear a guy always yelling, it’s like, ‘Shut up.’ But everything he does is intentional. He’s the leader of the ship. You saw that this year

I found it interesting that when I asked Hooker at the combine about the transition to the NFL, he mentioned that as much as NFL coaches and evaluators were asking him in meetings how he could work in next-level offenses, they were also asking him about the concepts he used at Tennessee — perhaps to adopt a few ideas on his way to the NFL. Hooker can make stick throws into tight windows. He can adjust to having to re-set from pressure or covered receivers. He can run a complex offense, and the extent to which he’ll be seen for that is in the hands of the NFL, but the tape clearly shows that one should not automatically discount his professional potential simply because he ran a certain offense.

Hendon Hooker Is Unique Case Study Of Size, Accuracy, Arm Talent

While at Tennessee, Hooker played in what can only be described as a pure college offense, consisting of quick screens, quick slants, intermediate hitches, basic crosses (midfield benders) and outside lane go routes. Heupel’s conviction and discipline to run these same plays over and over again lead to high-end production with Hooker in complete control of the offense.

In Knoxville, Hooker operated solely in the shotgun as a drop-back passer. In the five games I studied, there were essentially no plays called having him move outside the pocket to deliver the football. This is rarely seen at the college or NFL level.

I do not believe the simplicity of the offense is a reflection of Hooker’s football intelligence. He is unquestionably in control of the offensive line, making protection changes and audibles. Most coaches and evaluators will tell you accuracy is arguably the most important trait for a quarterback. Hooker is consistently accurate in the short and intermediate areas of the field while executing Heupel’s pass concepts, and that starts with his clean mechanics. To be a franchise quarterback, one must win games in the two-minute drill. This means dropping back, seeing the field, making good decisions, delivering accurately, using one’s legs to extend drives, and, most importantly, showing the "it factor" — the intangibles to give the team hope and make the plays when the team needs you the most.

In the 2022 game against Alabama, with the score 49-49, Hooker took his team down the field with two accurately thrown deep in routes with 15 and 9 seconds remaining, respectively, to get his team in field-goal range for the win. From a football intelligence perspective, Hooker is an interesting case study.

He processes quickly to make immediate, good decisions by getting the ball up and out quickly and protecting the football. A true test of a quarterback’s accuracy is his ability, like a pitcher in baseball, to put the ball on the black of the plate. Hooker faced an inordinate amount of man coverage in 2022 and consistently beat tight coverage with precise location. He also showed good spatial awareness, calmness in the pocket and extreme poise in chaotic situations.

Josh Heupel clears up major misconception about Vols QB Hendon Hooker

"He does an unbelievable job of processing the information extremely quickly, run-run checks, run-pass checks, loaded box checks, alerts, and kills," said Heupel while discussing Hooker. "He controls it all for us. And he's got an unbelievable understanding of protections, schemes, how to redirect to protections. He's been able to go through that. You know, there's a little bit of a misnomer because of our tempo that he didn't have all that on his plate. He does. And that's been a huge part of why he's continued to climb during the draft process because he's able to relay all that information to executives, and they have a great understanding of his football knowledge and without that, he wouldn't play at the level that he did for us this past season."

Qualifying Predraft Arguments Against Hendon Hooker

CJ Stroud, Bryce Young, Anthony Richardson, and Levis all come from slower-style offenses that ask quarterbacks to control the game more. However, Hooker showcased the ability to check into the right call by reading keys and making difficult throws over and over, which is all you can ask for. There isn't a direct correlation between pro-style offenses and NFL quarterbacking success; you must trust your eyes and see that he made big throws in big moments.

Former ESPN host has the best take yet on Hendon Hooker and the Tennessee Vols' offense

Part of the reason that Wingo has Hooker above Levis and Richardson is because he feels like Hooker ran a "complex offense" at Tennessee.

From Pro Football Network: I like Hendon Hooker a lot better than Anthony Richardson and Will Levis. He just got hurt. If Hooker hadn’t torn his ACL, I think he’d be drafted a lot higher than where he’s projected. He ran a complex offense at Tennessee and in a really, really difficult league. You go back and watch Stroud play at Ohio State, half the time he’s doing this looking over to the sidelines because that’s the way they run the program. Hooker, I think, has the potential to be better than any of these guys.

Wingo's take is more in line with Vols head coach Josh Heupel's take on Tennessee's offense. Heupel said earlier this spring that he believes the Vols put more on the quarterback than any program in the nation.

"Our guys control everything," said Heupel earlier this month. "I don’t think there’s anybody in America that puts more on their quarterbacks. Run-run checks, run-pass checks, loaded boxes, alerts, kills, they’ve got to do it all. So he’s (QB Joe Milton) highly instrumental in the efficiency and effectiveness of our running game."

In conclusion, Hooker is a very smart QB who studies his playbook intensely. His coaches trusted total control of the offense to him. They trusted him to deal with not only the offense but line calls. There are QBs in the NFL who played in air raid type offenses like Mahomes, Jalen Hurts and Kyler Murray and I believe he is in the Jalen Hurts category. Also, pro style offenses are hardly a ticket into the pros, both Ohio state and Alabama run more pro style offenses and they're hardly QB hotbeds. In fact Air Raid type offenses have a decent amount of success in producing pro QBs. Right now I bet Hooker knows the Lions playbook good as Goff and his physical tools far surpass Goff's, look above. He is superbly accurate and strong armed and mobile.

Next year, I hope to see Hooker compete for the starter's job. I have doubts that Holmes wants to meet Goff's demands and if he does that chokes the cap and team building. Ever notice that Holmes is careful with signings, because he has a long and short term plan. The long term plan is to control the cap in order to resign guys like Sewell and St. Brown while adding new talent in free agency. 40-50 million plus cuts off long term plans. Holmes knows because he came from the Rams and saw the effect Goff's extension made on the cap and team building. If Hooker can play, I can easily see Goff being traded next season. It all rides on training camp and Hendon's play.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Pride Of Detroit or its writers.