With the 15th pick in the 2017 NFL Draft the Indianapolis Colts Select….
The Colts selection of Malik Hooker was not only a need option, but he was also the best player available. Some could argue that the Colts should have taken Reuben Foster or Johnathon Allen with the fifteenth pick, but ultimately Malik Hooker was the best decision that the Colts front office could have chosen.
Hooker was red-shirted his freshman year at Ohio State, had limited playing time his sophomore season, and blew up as a First Team All-American his junior season. Hooker did not compete at the NFL combine due to two January surgeries on a torn labrum (hip) and a sports hernia. He did however, draw a lot of buzz from NFL teams due to his shear size as a DB. Hooker measured in at 6’1″ and 206 lbs with 10 3/4″ hands and 77 3/4″ wing span. Scouts described the safety as a ball hawk and turnover machine who can discretely disguise his coverage and then bounce back to ball to make a play.
“Hooker has been described as the second coming of Ed Reed, but can’t tackle”
One weakness that comes from Malik is his inability to make efficient tackles. The Colts tackling has been below average since the Grigson regime took over, and the drafting of Hooker may improve the overall defense but certainly does not improve the tackling. On top of that, Hooker really only has one year of real experience and is still raw and learning. This inexperience could either be a positive or negative depending on how he continues to grow and build as an athlete. Malik missed a total of 17 tackles during his last season at Ohio State due to the fact that he is primarily an arm tackler who lowers his head and ducks low to try to make a tackle. Hopefully, with more experience this is something that he can work on. Drafting Hooker could also mean that Darius Butler is pushed back into his usual role as a nickle corner. With Green and Geathers still coming into their own at Safety, it is certainly a crowded group. Could this mean that the Colts are giving up hope on the third year safety Clayton Geathers? This is the third year in a row the Colts have taken a safety, and they are hoping that TJ Green could have a sophomore boom like Landon Collins.
Only time will tell if Malik Hooker will be the second coming of Ed Reed, and if the safety group can eventually return to the glory days when they had the likes of Bob Sanders and Antoine Bethea. This pick is definitely a step in the right direction for the Colts secondary.
Crossroads Sports Draft Grade: B+
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