NFL rumors: Hendon Hooker almost ended up with a different team

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Lions quarterback Hendon Hooker was being eyed by another NFL team during the third round of the draft. 

The Detroit Lions got their quarterback of the future in Hendon Hooker, yet they weren’t the only team interested in the Tennessee Volunteer product.

The Lions took Hooker 68th overall in the third round, well before his second suitor had a chance to nab him.

According to ESPN’s John Keim, the Washington Commanders were “tempted” to pursue Hooker if he was available in the third round. The Commanders held a compensatory third-round pick at 97th overall; in the end, Detroit swung first and got their young quarterback, but Washington doesn’t seem too upset about the result.

One team source said the only quarterback who would have tempted them was Tennessee’s Hendon Hooker — but only if he was there when they selected in the third round.

The franchise has 2022 fifth-rounder Sam Howell who is primed to take over a more prominent role next season, and Washington also picked up veteran Jacoby Brissett in free agency.

Hendon Hooker was nearly drafted by Washington Commanders

Compared to last offseason, the Commanders franchise appears much calmer and more poised. They’re not desperately dialing other teams for quarterback options or making hasty trades for washed-up vets.

Rather, they’re relying on the pieces they have at the moment, and that means moving forward with Howell and Brissett in 2023.

Per ESPN’s Keim, the Commanders plan to give Howell the first shot at the starting job next year, as they liked how well he developed in his rookie year.

Howell got his sole start in a regular season win against the Cowboys, and that wasn’t against a second-string Dallas squad, either.

In the Commanders’ 26-6 victory, Howell threw for 169 yard and recorded one touchdown against one interception, developing solid chemistry with Jahan Dotson and Terry McLaurin and overall taking good care of the football.

With Brissett as the only obstacle in Howell’s path to becoming a starter, it makes sense as to why Washington would roll out with a former draft pick and keep Brissett as a skilled backup for insurance.

The Commanders not taking a QB in this year’s draft makes Sam Howell a clear-cut winner: he’s their guy in 2023. Let’s see if Washington’s faith in Howell will pay off.

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