Disaster 2: Draft this quarterback with the 36th overall pick
The LA Rams may want to emerge from the 2023 NFL Draft with a backup quarterback, but hopefully, the team does not panic and overreach for a quarterback at the 36th overall pick. There have been plenty of reports linking Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker to the LA Rams, but for the Rams to have a realistic hope of landing this pocket passer, they will need to use their lone second-round pick, the 36th overall selection of the 2023 NFL Draft.
The problem with a second-round selection of WR Tank Dell is the same problem that faces the Rams' election of a backup quarterback with the 36th overall pick. That value of landing what is arguably the 36th most talented rookie prospect in the 2023 NFL Draft, if chosen to fill a backup quarterback position this year, simply will never translate to the on-field production at anywhere close to the value of a Day 1 starter.
A solid backup, but no value for Rams at 36
Now, don't get me wrong. Hooker's 6-foot-3 stature, 217-pound frame, 10.5 inch hands (largest of Senior Bowl QBs) and hybrid blend of part pocket passer and part dual-threat quarterback does make him a very intriguing NFL rookie prospect. And the ACL injury, while a concern for a team that needs a Day 1 starter, poses no flags to the LA Rams roster, as long as he clears medical examinations.
He has all of the raw attributes and skill sets that the LA Rams, or any NFL team for that matter, could want in a rookie prospect. He has an impressive internal clock, and knows when he must deliver the football. He has an impressive quick release, a must in the NFL now. He has good arm accuracy, with a better than 10:1 touchdown to interception ratio over the past two seasons.
Hooker is a consensus fifth quarterback in the 2023 NFL Draft, falling behind Alabama QB Bryce Young, Ohio State QB C.J. Stroud, Kentucky QB Will Levis, and Florida QB Anthony Richardson. He is capable of becoming a good NFL starter someday. Right now, the LA Rams roster appears to have far more urgent needs all over the roster, needs that demand a player who can and will start and play all 17 games for the LA Rams. I just don't see that kind of value coming from Hendon Hooker for the Rams roster this year.
I project QB Matthew Stafford starting for the Rams in 2023-25. That gives the team ample opportunity to choose their next starting quarterback in the 2024 NFL Draft, and still afford a year or two to learn behind Stafford. Hendon Hooker is a very talented rookie with serious upside potential. Unfortunately, the Rams have far too many needs for immediate contributors in this draft to dally in any luxuries.