Hooper compiled two solid seasons at Stanford, finishing with 937 yards on 74 catches. He caught a career-high six touchdowns in 2015, as the Cardinal won the Pac-12 championship and defeated the Iowa Hawkeyes in the Rose Bowl.
The tight end class in this spring's draft is not a strong one. Only one tight end at this moment, Arkansas' Hunter Henry, is projected to go in the first round by CBSSports.com.
Michael Detillier of SaintsReport.com sees Hooper as a guy who could go on Day 2 of the draft:
Austin Hooper-TE. Stanford has announced he is coming out early for 2016 NFL draft. Late 2nd/early 3rd round pick projection.— Michael Detillier (@MikeDetillier) January 4, 2016
Tight end may not be a position of need for many teams when the draft rolls around, though. CBS Sports ranks only four tight ends in its top 100. Hooper might be the fifth prospect to join the list, but it shows how little teams value tight ends when they are on the clock.
At 6'4" and 248 pounds, Hooper is not only a productive tight end who can make big plays but also a good run-blocker. He opened up a lot of lanes for Christian McCaffrey as Stanford's star running back broke many records this season.
Hooper's best performance came at USC on Sept. 19. He caught four passes for 79 yards and a touchdown in Stanford's then-upset win over the Trojans.
With a position featuring little talent, Hooper can be a versatile weapon for a team that's looking to improve in the red zone and on third down. Teams such as the Denver Broncos, San Francisco 49ers and Oakland Raiders could use an upgrade at tight end, especially one of Hooper's size.