One of the latest mock drafts from The Athletic has the Green Bay Packers drafting a quarterback in the third round of the 2023 NFL Draft.
The Packers currently have Aaron Rodgers and Jordan Love on the roster. But it would be a surprise if both players are still on the roster this fall.
If Rodgers decides he wants to return to Green Bay in 2023, then it’s highly likely that Love, a first-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, will ask for a trade. Love is entering his fourth season in the NFL and he’s only started one game.
There’s also the possibility that Rodgers decides to retire or asks to be traded. So either way, it would be wise for the Packers to consider a quarterback in the draft.
And that’s exactly what The Athletic’s Matt Schneidman has Green Bay doing in the middle rounds of the draft.
Schneidman has the Packers selecting Tennessee Vols quarterback Hendon Hooker with the No. 79 overall pick (third round).
From The Athletic:
IN THIS MOCK DRAFT, THE PACKERS DON’T TRADE QUARTERBACK AARON RODGERS, AS EVIDENCED BY THE FACT THAT THEY DIDN’T PICK FIRST AT THE RAIDERS’ NO. 7 SLOT OR JETS’ NO. 13 CHOICE.
IF THAT HAPPENS, QUARTERBACK JORDAN LOVE MIGHT (AND SHOULD) REQUEST A TRADE IF HE FEELS HE’S TRULY READY TO START. WHETHER THE PACKERS GRANT THAT REQUEST IS ANOTHER STORY, BUT LET’S SAY THEY DEAL LOVE. RODGERS WOULD LIKELY PLAY FOR ONLY ONE OR TWO MORE SEASONS, SO GUTEKUNST WOULD NEED TO DIP BACK IN THE WELL FOR RODGERS’ SUCCESSOR.
HOOKER IS COMING OFF A TORN ACL, BUT HE CAN MAKE SURE HIS KNEE IS RIGHT WHILE LEARNING FROM RODGERS. IN 11 GAMES LAST SEASON, HOOKER THREW FOR 3,135 YARDS, 27 TOUCHDOWNS AND ONLY TWO INTERCEPTIONS.
Hooker is a first-round talent who will likely fall to the middle rounds of the draft for two reasons:
His age (he turned 25 last month)
The torn ACL he suffered last November in Tennessee’s loss to South Carolina
Outside of those two negatives, Hooker is a first-round quarterback.
The Greensboro, NC native has ideal size (6-foot-4/218 lbs), he’s athletic, has a good arm, and he’s smart with the football (Hooker threw just two interceptions this past season).
Hooker is also incredibly poised. Tennessee played in some big games last season and while Hooker wasn’t perfect, he managed to lead the Vols to their first win against Alabama since 2006 and their first win against LSU since 2005.
In the win against Alabama, the Vols got the ball back with just 15 seconds left to play in the fourth quarter.
Armed with two timeouts, Hooker proceeded to complete two passes for a combined 45 yards to get Tennessee in range for the game-winning field goal.
Don’t forget: Hendon Hooker had the best Heisman moment of any player this season. pic.twitter.com/NkYOra6IxP
— zach ragan (@zachTNT) November 30, 2022
There are some uncertainties with Hooker due to his ACL injury. But he could provide incredible value as a third-round pick. And I certainly think it’s worth the gamble.
The Packers don’t have a clear plan at quarterback for life after Rodgers. Even if it’s Love’s job in 2023, he’s far from a sure thing. Adding Hooker would give Green Bay some insurance at the most important position in football.