I’ve seen all the reports about the Packers going after Austin Hooper in free agency. I’ve also seen the $10M rumors floating around.
I didn’t get it when I first heard it and after a lot more review, I still don’t get it now.
Let’s talk about it.
First, let’s look at Hooper’s combine stats coming out of college:
Height: 6’3 3/4″
40 time: 4.72
You know who that reminds me of? Jace Sternberger:
40 time: 4.75
I really like Jace Sternberger, but do we really need an older version of the same guy at a much higher price?
I know, I know, I know, it’s about more than measurables. Do you know what they said about Hooper in his pre-draft assesment?
This: “labeled as a move tight end… head ducker as run blocker and can lose track of target and whiff from time to time”
You know what they said about Sternberger in his pre-draft assessment?
The same damn thing: “Runs his routes like a big receiver… run blocking isn’t where it needs to be”
We already have a tight end who plays like a big receiver and isn’t a great blocker. I get that you need more than one, but why not spend a mid-round pick to get another one or stick with Tonyan instead of paying upwards of $10M in free agency?
Look at his production. Over the last two years, his yards per catch is almost two yards lower that Jimmy Graham – a guy we want to cut because he’s making $10M per year!
I’ve also been poring over his highlights, trying to see what all the fuss is about…
But I don’t see it.
Let’s check out one of the newer, longer videos out there on Hooper:
Watch it and tell me what you see.
Do you see an amazing tight end that dominates and should be the highest paid tight end in the league (which is what a $10M average would make him)?
I see a big guy with good hands who hesitates every time he catches the ball. He jumps to catch when he doesn’t have to, he wastes steps getting upfield, and he gets whatever yards he can by plowing forward and nothing more.
This is a highlight video from a fan who wants his team to sign Hooper – and that’s the best they can do!
Hooper is a good player, but like most free agents, he’s going to get way more than he’s worth.
Just like Jimmy Graham did.
Want to learn more about value in free agency?
Want to see why guys like this usually don’t work out?
Check out our Amazon #1 New Release A Fan’s Guide To NFL Free Agency Hits And Misses: Case Studies and Lessons From Landmark Signings Throughout History.
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Check out Packers Draft Central 2020 for all our 2020 NFL Draft and Free Agency coverage!