Hendon Hooker’s Injury, Zach Wilson News and More

With the start of the college football season, there is a lot of NFL draft news and rumors circulating across the country. Team requirements continue to be a focus for NFL organizations as scouts turn their attention to their preferred draft prospects.

In this mailbag, we take a look at some of the players who have announced their intention to go to the 2023 NFL Draft, Hendon Hooker’s prospects, and more.

If you have a question you would like answered in next week’s NFL Draft News and Rumors Mailbag, please email me here.

NFL Draft News and Rumors Mailbag

Q: How do you rate some of the recent players who have announced their intention to play?

I’m being conservative with my grades as I sit and watch these guys go through the drafting process. So in this sense:

Tucker Kraft, TE, State of South Dakota: Second round but could take a big leap up if he beats it out of the park in pre-draft workouts.

Tanner Mordecai, QB, SMU: UDFA. He could slip into the late portion of round seven with a big All-Star/Pro day practice.

Tyree Wilson, EDGE, Texas Tech: First round. Might miss the ideal football intelligence but looks and alludes to it.

Ronnie Hickman, S, Ohio State: Day 3, fifth/sixth round area unless he has a great combine. He showed more flashes than consistency.

Isaiahland, EDGE, FAMU: Seventh round, although the Shrine Bowl will say so. Land is a great pass rusher but has safety size. Wants to see his actual readings and how he plays in space.

Q: How much does the torn cruciate ligament affect Hendon Hooker’s design?

It’s a killer and will likely propel him into the late part of day two. The fact that the injury came so late in the season, making it impossible for him to attend the Shrine or the Senior Bowl, really hurts.

MORE: 2023 NFL Draft Big Board

As we’ve seen time and time again, the Shrine Bowl (Jimmy Garapolo) and Senior Bowl (Mac Jones, Carson Wentz, Philip Rivers) are kingmakers at the quarterback position.

Q: Where do you rate Keion White, DT, Georgia Tech for the draft?

Currently I have a fourth round grade for him, but I could definitely see him moving into day two.

Q: A lot of the talk this offseason will be about how Will Levis feels – what do we need to know about him before we get to January-April when all the “Draftniks” are criticizing everything about him?

Passport, Passport, Passport!!! “Does he release receivers?” Does he lead receivers with passes? Or are the receivers constantly adjusting to catch his passes? He needs to become a better passer and not a shooter.

The physical abilities are obvious, but as someone from one of the New York soccer teams told me two months ago, “Will Levis looks like a great athlete that someone said let’s try this guy for quarterback.”

Q: Is Will Anderson Jr. still the best available player in this draft class? And if not, who?

He’s still number one on my board. Wasn’t expecting many this season, but 8 sacks and 14 TFLs in 11 games are still pretty good numbers.

Q: A lot has been written about Zach Wilson this week after his poor performance against the Patriots and his subsequent press conference, which was even worse. Was there anything on the wall with Wilson about bad attitude before the draft? Did you hear about it?

I want to stress that I didn’t hear anything about personality issues with Wilson prior to the 2021 NFL Draft.

I can tell you that Wilson made similar comments last season when he was struggling and unwilling to pocket the balls for the team. When I spoke to someone in the western scouting community about this during the 2021 season, the comment was, “People knew Wilson was a legitimate rich kid who doesn’t take responsibility.”

MORE: Did Zach Wilson throw his last pass for the NY Jets?

At the time, I brushed them off completely, thinking it was just a rookie mistake. Looking back on it now, there seems to be a lot of truth in what I was told.

Q: You mentioned Saturday that Oklahoma offensive tackle Anton Harrison is offering a big NIL deal to stay in school one more season. Have you heard about big offers for other players?

I don’t seek this kind of information, but it’s often offered to me unsolicited. I’ve heard a few things since then, including:

Underclassmen undecided about entering the NFL draft will wait and see what kind of NIL offer they get from their respective universities before making a decision.

The Miami Hurricanes reportedly have a $5 million NIL arsenal that they will use to attract top players entering the transfer portal.

MORE: NFL Mock Draft Simulator

I’ve always been on the side of college players who made money off their names or used their fame to make them money. I’ve always felt the NCAA was too authoritarian when it came to handcuffing players’ ability to make money for themselves while they made billions from college sports. Previous bans against players like AJ Green were evidence of this abuse.

In this respect, in my opinion, the pendulum seems to have swung too far to the other side. I’m all for players making as much money as possible from their names, but getting schools involved in free agent wars for player services will not end well.


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