The Tampa Bay Bucs are in the market for a quarterback to come in and challenge Kyle Trask for the starting job. And it may not be just an experienced veteran free agent, either. Despite spending a second-round pick on Trask in 2021, the Bucs could draft another quarterback to increase the odds of Tampa Bay solidifying their QB position with another young option.
Tampa Bay met with Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis and will have him visit the team’s headquarters later this spring for a Top 30 visit per ESPN’s Ryan Fowler.
Tennessee QB Hendon Hooker had a Top 30 visit with the Houston Texans, and will travel to the Giants, Titans, Buccaneers, and Colts in the coming weeks, per source.
— Ryan Fowler (@_RyanFowler_) March 11, 2023
Hendon Hooker Has Two Things Working Against Him When It Comes To The Bucs
Tennessee QB Hendon Hooker – Photo by: USA Today
Hooker is projected to be a second- or third-round pick largely due to the fact that he tore his ACL against South Carolina on November 19 in Tennessee’s 63-38 loss. Otherwise he had first-round potential. The first-team All-American quarterback and SEC Offensive Player of the Year was running a read option when he injured his knee.
Hooker got good news from his medical reports at the Combine when NFL doctors declared that he would be ready to return to action by the start of the 2023 regular season. But for the Bucs’ Todd Bowles, who needs to win this season after going 8-9 last year in his first season as head coach, Hooker would miss all of the OTAs, mini-camps, training camp and the preseason of his rookie year.
That would pretty much take him out of contention as a possible starter and legit challenger to Trask this season. Add in the fact that Hooker is already 25 years after playing five years in college, including the first three at Virginia Tech, and he’s not an ideal QB option for the Bucs. Trask just turned 25 but is already entering his third season in Tampa Bay.
Yet there is no denying Hooker’s talent. Hooker completed 69.6% of his passes for 3,135 yards with 27 touchdowns and two interceptions last year in 11 games before injuring his knee. He also ran for 430 yards and five TDs while averaging 4.1 yards per carry. In two years as Tennessee’s starter, Hooker completed 69% of his passes with 58 TDs and just five INTs.
Hooker’s best came of the season in Tennessee’s 51-49 home win against Alabama. He completed 70% of his passes for 385 yards with five touchdowns and one pick, in addition to running for 56 yards on 14 carries (4.0 avg.). There’s no denying that Hooker is a talented quarterback and the Bucs are doing their due diligence by having him in for one of the team’s 30 pre-draft visits.
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