• Position: Safety (4-3)
  • Previous Team: Ohio State Buckeyes
  • Status: 2017 Rookie, Indianapolis Colts (Round 1, Pick 15)

Age: 21, Height: 6’1, Weight: 205 lbs, Experience: 1 year starter (College)

hooker.jpg
Hooker (24) is a deadly ball hawk against the deep pass
  • Average opposing offense rank: 57.2
  • Average opposing pass offense rank: 60.8
  • Average opposing run offense rank: 55.5

stats

Strengths:

  • Good play recognition. Can figure out if the play is run or pass very quickly.
  • Proactive and quick, allowing for fast breaks on the ball carrier should they make it to the second level.
  • Closing speed can be ridiculous when zoning in on a deep pass.
  • Top notch agility allows for quick and seemless redirection when needed.
  • Large range on coverage makes the middle of the field a very dangerous place for reckless QBs.
  • Can be sticky on man assignments, allowing for a quick tackle should a pass be completed
pro
Hooker’s (24) instincts ensure he is always a threat against the pass

Weaknesses:

  • Inexperienced, only started for a single season.
  • Very inconsistent tackler, making his presence in the deep zone dangerous only when the ball is in the air.
  • Plays the role of a safety net, preferring to sit back and let others make the tackle than doing it himself.
  • location of tackles can be concerning, if he’s not grabbing the neck or helmet, he could be tackling too low and taking a lot of force to the neck and shoulders.
  • Can lose track of the ball carrier on the inside run.
  • Slow going downhill
  • Lets himself get blocks too easily in the open field by WRs.
Hooker con
Hooker (deep middle defender) is inconsistent when called to tackle

Overall:

Malik Hooker is a Free Safety and plays like one. He is not a player you can expect to make a move into the Strong Safety position. His greatest threat level comes from when the ball is in the air, as his ball hawking instincts are dangerous for the deep pass as he might just come down with it. Hooker is a guy you definitely want playing deep coverage on passing plays, and can be an absolute beast in the final 4 minutes. That being said, Hooker’s toolbox is far too small to allow for much outside of the moderate to deep pass. The problem with Malik is against the run, quick pass, or a scrambling QB, he is either a laibility, or simply invisible. His lack of solid tackling ability means any skilled short pass receiver can easily handle him in the open field, and his conservative play style can be taken advantage of should a scrambling QB or a RB make it to the second or third level. Hooker’s resume for schedule is decent as well. He has competed against 3 elite offenses (Tulsa #6, Oklahoma #3, Clemson #1), 3 elite passing offenses (Oklahoma #10, Penn State #23, Clemson #3), and 2 elite running offenses (Tulsa #9, Oklahoma #16). Hooker is tied for the 3rd most interceptions of the 2016 season with 7, had the third most yards run back off a pick, and tied for the most pick 6’s in 2016. The flip side of all of this however is the rest of the schedule that he played against. While he did compete against some tough competition with Oklahoma and Clemson, the game against Clemson was nothing short of a massacre. Malik’s interception itself was more because of a dumb play on Watson’s part than his own athletic ability. While you could argue Malik’s ball hawking instincts helped to gain that interception (and you wouldn’t be wrong), the interception came off WR Hunter Renfrow, not star WR Mike Williams. Also statistically speaking, Hooker’s best games were against Northwesten (ranked 67th) and Bowling Green (ranked 83rd). Neither of which has any offensive NFL prospects. Truth be told, I don’t think Malik Hooker is a bad player by any stretch of the imagination, in fact I love his ability to be a commanding force against the passing game. It’s simply a matter that his limited impact in any other aspect of the game could be a problem. We’ll see how his run defense evolves as he enters the league as a Colt.