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The Sports Daily > Colts Authority
Colts First Pick: Malik Hooker

Malik Hooker- Safety- Ohio State

Height: 6’1″

Weight: 206 lbs.

Class: Redshirt Sophomore

BPA and Need

The Colts new GM Chris Ballard got one of his highest ranked players after thinking it would be highly unlikely. Less than two weeks before the draft Ballard decided to bring in Hooker just in case he happened to drop down far enough. It worked out.

Hooker also fills a big need for the Colts. Although, drafting any defensive position would’ve filled a need for one of the worst defenses in the NFL in 2016. The Colts really need a pass rusher and cornerback as well, but Ballard couldn’t pass on Hooker.

Ballard kept mentioning the unique skillset Hooker would bring to the defense. “Unique players. Unique athletes that make plays. That’s what we need to keep addingH to our team, especially on defense right now.” There was plenty of great defensive talent left on the board for the Colts, but there was no hesitation in selecting Hooker. “No. I thought we got a unique talent. City’s going to love him. They’re going to love him.”

Strengths 

Hooker has the best ball skills of any defensive back in this draft class. He has outstanding coverage skills and great instincts while being able to read quarterbacks’ eyes. Speed is average but can change directions quickly and has remarkable closing speed.

He has strong hands at the catch point which leads to takeaways. He can cover a ton of ground and play comfortably as a “robber” and high safety. His athleticism, anticipation in coverage and ball skills will make him an immediate impact.

Hooker started one full season at Ohio State after only playing football for two years in high school, but made the most of his opportunity. He finished the season with seven picks, the Colts entire team had eight interceptions last season. Hooker returned three of those picks for touchdowns so when he gets the ball in his hands don’t be surprised if he takes it to the house.

All of the comparisons to Ed Reed. Do I expect him to be as good as Reed was in the NFL? No. The skillset is very similar though.

“Hooker is the closest thing to Reed I’ve seen since I’ve been scouting.” – NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah

“I initially watched Malik Hooker film when I heard someone I respect compare him to Ed Reed. I was like BS, but it’s true.” – Omar Kelly, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

“Malik Hooker may be closest thing to Ed Reed in ball hawking skills that I’ve seen on college tape…but that’s getting a little previous.” – Brian Billick

Weaknesses

Only one year of experience. He’s raw and still learning the position. Not the best downhill tackler. His technique needs improvement which is to be expected with his lack of experience.

He can be a sure tackler when he breaks down properly but at times comes in too hot and takes bad angles. Missed 17 tackles last season. Things that can easily be fixed at the next level.

He could struggle at some things as a rookie. He has a lot of room to grow and develop.

Teams may have been concerned about his injuries this past season. Hooker had two surgeries after the season. One to repair a hernia, and another to fix a hip injury. He was unable to participate in the combine because of recovery.

What Does He Bring?

Hooker brings playmaking ability to a defense that hasn’t had much of that the past few seasons. Robert Mathis prior to his Achilles injury is the last playmaker the Colts have really had. He has an ability to flip the field unlike any other safety in this class.

He can slide right in as a starting safety for the Colts. He’s a good complement to the more physical Clayton Geathers. He should bring energy to a defense that has been stagnant for a very long time.

He picked off Deshaun Watson in the Fiesta Bowl last season. If Watson becomes the Houston Texans starting quarterback in the next couple years I expect Hooker to pick him off numerous times playing against each other in the AFC South.