Is Malik Hooker a Possibility?

OSU 6’2″ 205 lbs

2016 stats: 74 tackles (5.5 for loss), seven interceptions (second in nation), four pass break ups

Hooker is hands down one of the best safeties entering the NFL Draft. He and Jamal Adams are predicted to be the top two safeties off the board. Hooker can be selected as early as second overall by San Francisco and his talents could be used by many teams sitting in the top 10 like Jacksonville at four, Tennessee at five and Los Angeles at seven.

The Ohio state product only has one year of starting experience under his belt and just picked up football his junior year of high school. His talent is still raw, but he still showed tremendous potential to develop. Hooker has all the tools to become a Pro Bowl safety in the NFL.

He possesses speed and athleticism to compete in coverage. Hooker is a sure-handed, ball-hawking safety with terrific closing speed. He has excellent ball tracking ability and great instinct. It allows him to make quick decisions and read the quarterback’s eyes. The kid is a great centerfielder who can cover the deep ball and ability to drop down and cover slot receivers or tight ends. Hooker has it all.

However, he recently underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum and a hernia. He’ll definitely miss the NFL Scouting Combine, but will reportedly be ready for training camp. Will these injuries hurt his draft stock? Doubtful, he played through these injuries during the season and still looked like a top 10 player. In fact, the surgery could be a blessing in disguise for Cleveland.

If Hooker is sitting there at 12, the Browns need to pull the trigger. They need help in the secondary and could use the threat of a ball-hawking safety. Hooker could step in and instantly improve Cleveland’s defense. They are in need of an impactful deep defender who can race from sideline to sideline. Most importantly, we need a dependable player who can cover up the mistakes made by the corners.

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