The Dallas Cowboys could be in the quarterback business on day two of the NFL draft. Kentucky’s Will Levis and Tennessee’s Hendon Hooker are both available heading into the second round. 105.3 The Fan’s Cowboys insider Bobby Belt believes Dallas will seriously consider Hooker if the former Vols signal-caller remains available at No. 58. The Cowboys chose to bolster their defense with the No. 26 selection by adding former Michigan defensive tackle Mazi Smith.
“So, the question is if Hendon Hooker gets pushed down your board, and you are getting to No. 58, now we’re talking about an actual question I think for the Cowboys,” Belt detailed during an April 28, 2023 episode of “Shan and RJ.” “The Cowboys were not going to take a quarterback at No. 26 yesterday. If we’re getting to the backend of the second and there is a quarterback of high value there, do you take him? I think they would have a discussion about Hooker at No. 58 if he was there.”
Hooker sustained a season-ending ACL injury last November but is expected to be ready for the start of the NFL season. The Tennessee quarterback threw for 3,135 yards, 27 touchdowns and two interceptions while completing 69.6% of his passes in 11 starts in 2022 prior to his injury.
Dallas has been tied to Hooker throughout the pre-draft process despite Dak Prescott still having two seasons remaining on his $160 million contract. The Draft Network’s Ryan Fowler reported that the Cowboys were among the teams that “met extensively” with Hooker.
“Tennessee QB Hendon Hooker has met extensively with the Raiders, Panthers, Giants, Saints, and Cowboys during the pre-draft process, per source,” Fowler tweeted on February 21. “The dual-threat talent is expected be healthy and ready for training camp after suffering a torn ACL in Nov.”
According to The Dallas Morning News’ Calvin Watkins, the Cowboys met with Hooker over Zoom prior to the draft. It is unclear if this conversation is in addition to the extensive meetings reported in February.
“One quarterback who doesn’t have local ties that has spoken to club officials via zoom is Tennessee’s Hendon Hooker,” Watkins wrote on April 5. “Hooker might be a Day 2 selection. Before tearing his left ACL in November, Hooker made 22 starts for Tennessee. He’s made 37 career starts between Tennessee and Virginia Tech. Hooker went 15-7 as a starter for the Vols and was named SEC Offensive Player of the Year in 2022. He threw for 8,974 yards with 80 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in his career.”
The challenge for Dallas is the team already has three quarterbacks on the roster after the team was able to re-sign Cooper Rush as their QB2 this offseason. The Cowboys also have Will Grier under contract for another season, but the former West Virginia signal-caller could be on the hot seat if Dallas selects a quarterback in the coming days.
Dallas has made no secret about their desire to add a developmental quarterback in the draft. The question is whether the Cowboys are willing to use high draft capital to add a player like Hooker. A more plausible scenario could be Dallas waiting until day three to snag a quarterback like Purdue’s Aidan O’Connell, TCU’s Max Duggan or Houston’s Clayton Tune.