Meet The Prospect: Malik Hooker

Ohio State safety Malik Hooker is the rangy ball-hawk that all teams seek on the back-end of defense.

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School: Ohio State  Ht: 6-2  Wt: 205

Strengths

Hooker is a gifted athlete with an impressive blend of burst, body control and instincts. Outstanding play speed, covering a lot of green. Magnet to the ball due to his cover awareness, field vision and range. Transfers weight to smoothly open his hips, turn and run without gearing down. Impressive lower body explosion and leaping skills. Unique timing/anticipation to break on the ball and make plays most defensive backs don’t. Elite ballskills with the innate ability to find, judge and disrupt the catch point. Long arms and strong hands to finish interceptions – finished second in the FBS with seven pick-offs in 2016.

He’s a natural playmaker with the ball in his hands with 181 yards (25.9 average) and three touchdowns on interception returns in 2016 (had another return for a score that was called back due to a phantom penalty). Explosive tackler and doesn’t need a runway to create momentum. Fast angles working downhill with range to clean up plays his teammates miss. Uses his length to lasso ballcarriers out of his reach. Experienced on special teams coverages

 

Weaknesses

Hooker is not consistent in his pursuit angles as a tackler. Lowers his pads with an accurate strike zone, but needs to clean up his mechanics when breaking down to be a better finisher. Trusts his eyes and follows the ball, but is vulnerable to misdirection and play fakes. Aggressive style in the secondary can lead to incorrect guesses. Limited experience as a blitzer. Room to get stronger and improve his functional strength. Inconsistent physicality and leverage taking on blocks near the line of scrimmage. He’s inexperienced, only one season as a collegiate starter.


2017 NFL Draft Positional Rankings


Overall

There aren’t a lot of negative things to say about Malik Hooker. He can do everything that a great safety can do, including take the ball away, which allows the cornerbacks to play very aggressively because they know that he will be right behind them.

He probably isn’t best used as a blitzer, but he can do some of that too if you need someone to play closer to the LOS and stop a TE. The only thing keeping him from being talked about as a premier player in this draft is his position. If anyone played left tackle as well as Hooker played safety they would be a top-5 pick.


 

2017 NFL Draft Early Entries


NFL Comparison

Reshad Jones

Draft Position

Top 10

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