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    Hendon Hooker Draft Rumors: Are the Giants Hedging Their Bets With Daniel Jones Already?

    Hendon Hooker has been a hot name as one of the top quarterbacks in the 2023 NFL Draft, but could the New York Giants really consider him?

    The NFL loves to create as much drama as possible. That is one of the reasons the sport has completely engrossed the United States, taking any questions about which sport reins supreme away. Rumors and pontification from said rumors can lead to some entertaining hypotheticals. The recent news could lead Hendon Hooker‘s draft rumors to another level of insanity. Visiting the Giants for an official “30 visit” is a twist many weren’t expecting.

    Hendon Hooker Draft Rumors

    For a long time, Hooker was seen as a Day 2 NFL Draft prospect who conceivably could be an eventual starter at the NFL level if the stars aligned properly.

    From a physical perspective, Hooker has NFL tools. He’s a naturally accurate passer, has requisite NFL size, enough arm, and more than enough athleticism to make plays outside of the pocket.

    Hooker must be able to grow from a very QB-friendly Tennessee offense, but part of the allure of him being a Day 2 pick is that a team could draft him behind an entrenched veteran on a soon-to-be-expiring contract.

    MORE: FREE NFL Mock Draft Simulator With Trades

    However, ESPN analyst Mike Tannenbaum did a mock draft a while back that had Hooker, a 25-year-old QB coming off a torn ACL from a Baylor-style offense, go fifth overall. Others had already planted their flag, placing him as their third-favorite QB behind Bryce Young and C.J. Stroud. NFL Network’s Bucky Brooks was one of them.

    “Injured or not, Hendon Hooker is no worse than the QB3 in this class,” Brooks tweeted. “Talented and experienced with the athleticism and passing prowess that is required to play at a high level in this league.”

    Links to the Vikings, Seahawks, and Lions would all make sense. But it’s peculiar to see Hooker visiting the New York Giants, a franchise that just extended a 25-year-old QB to a four-year deal worth $160 million. Yet, maybe NFL teams should consider this more often.

    Giants Leaving No Stone Unturned

    Whether one personally believes in Daniel Jones becoming a top-tier QB in the NFC is irrelevant. The fact is he’s had one good season in which he wasn’t necessarily asked to make a ton of highly difficult passes.

    That’s partially due to the brilliance of head coach Brian Daboll and offensive coordinator Mike Kafka working with an underwhelming receiving corps. However, even with the added rushing ability Jones brings, he’s far way from being one of the best in the business at his craft. And if recently successful teams have shown, to win a Super Bowl, you must either have an elite QB or one on a rookie deal to reach the promised land.

    To make a long story short, NFL teams should more often emulate what the Giants are doing here, leaving no stone unturned in their pursuit of finding a high-end franchise QB. And if Hooker somehow lasts until the 57th pick in the draft, or even slightly sooner than that, New York should consider him.

    Firstly, Hooker will need time to rehabilitate from his ACL tear, and he needs time to grasp an NFL playbook with NFL passing concepts against NFL defenses. That could take a few years. At the very worst (for the pick), Hooker never has to play because Jones elevated his game to the next level and avoided injury. That leads us to the second point.

    Jones ran the ball 120 times in 2022. That’s a number that likely won’t dip significantly because his value as a runner in the option run game and as a scrambler is incredibly valuable to the Giants’ offense.

    We saw what Josh Allen could do in Daboll’s offense as a runner, and while Jones doesn’t provide the same physicality as Allen, he’s a good runner. But those hits can add up, and having an athletic backup with starter-level upside on a rookie deal is an outstanding backup plan.

    MORE: C.J. Stroud Is No Longer the Betting Favorite To Go No. 2 in the 2023 NFL Draft

    Finally, Jones signed a four-year deal that could be a two-year deal if New York is unhappy with his performance over the next two seasons or if he simply remains stagnant. Cutting Jones after 2024 could save the Giants $30 million against their cap heading into 2025, and his dead cap hit would be only $9 million in 2025 and 2026. That would give the Giants money to load up on talent for Hooker, much like the Eagles insulated Jalen Hurts with an outstanding roster on a second-round deal.

    The sad truth about the NFL is if you don’t have Patrick Mahomes, Tom Brady, or Peyton Manning, you’re not likely to win a Super Bowl. Eli Manning’s Giants went on two magical runs, but New York fans should not count on that being a viable option to mimic when the NFL boasts some of the best QB play at the top that we’ve ever seen.

    The other option seems to be having an overperforming quarterback on a rookie deal and a franchise that was able to load up a roster with the talent surrounding said QB. Giants GM Joe Schoen is dedicated to building the roster around Jones.

    “He played well for us this past year. I think the coaching staff has confidence in him,” Schoen told reporters after Jones’ deal became public. “As an organization, we have a confidence in him. We’re going to continue to build the team around him. That’s the ultimate goal.”

    But, in the end, teams need to stop being okay with good enough. Simply getting to the dance is not enough for NFL fans. They’d rather see a team swing for the fences rather than play it safe to maybe win 10-11 games and be a Wild Card team.

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