With the 15th pick in the 2017 NFL draft the Indianapolis Colts selected a player from Ohio State that will change this defense for years to come. It’s a blessing that the Colts were even given the opportunity to draft this man, considering he was a top 10 talent on almost every team’s draft board.
“Malik the Freak” as some like to call him – Malik Hooker is set to have an impact on Indy’s defense that has not been felt since the Bob Sanders era a decade ago.
The 6’1” 206 pound safety has the hand and arm length to grab a ball out of the air that most would consider out of reach.
#OhioState S Malik Hooker was clearly the guy who created buzz in the room. Huge hands and big wingspan. "Turnover machine." #NFLCombine https://t.co/ykSts9z2kq
— Charles Robinson (@CharlesRobinson) March 4, 2017
He is a rangy secondary presence and showed his ability while at Ohio State. During his sophomore campaign with the Buckeyes he recorded 74 total tackles and was tied for third in the NCAA last year with seven interceptions, while also returning three of them for touchdowns. Hooker, paired with players like Vontae Davis and second-round pick Quincy Wilson could transition this team quickly from having one of the worst defenses in the league to a top-15 defense that vows not to give up the the deep ball anymore.
Greg Schiano, the current defensive coordinator at Ohio State, has gone on record saying that he believes Malik Hooker has many of the same abilities that former Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed had. Schiano worked with Reed back in his days as defensive backs coach with the Miami Hurricanes and sees the similarities between the two.
Chris Ballard made it a point in his first offseason with the Colts to mend the many wounds this team had on defense. Even though he let go of a Pro-Bowl safety in Mike Adams, he brought in a young prospect who is projected to become an elite talent in the NFL. Malik Hooker combined with the young and fast linebacker corps, the stout defensive line, and the veteran leadership of Vontae Davis will help mold Hooker into what Schiano believes could be an all-time great player.
It’s hard to say now how successful he will be in the end, so for now – I’ll say he’s going to be the best safety in the AFC South in 2017.