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What’s Malik Hooker’s ‘Best-Case Scenario’ For 2017?

Posted Jul 1, 2017

Intro: NFL.com’s Bucky Brooks recently laid out the best- and worst-case scenarios for some of the more notable defensive picks in this year’s NFL Draft. What does Books see possibly unfolding for Indianapolis Colts safety Malik Hooker?

INDIANAPOLIS — The expectation for most first-round picks in the National Football League is that they should come in and contribute right away.

Those expectations are certainly no different for Indianapolis Colts safety Malik Hooker.

The Colts selected Hooker with the 15th-overall pick back in April’s NFL Draft, giving their defense what they hope is an immediate — and badly needed — playmaker in the secondary.

So what, exactly, should Colts fans expect out of Hooker? Bucky Brooks has a good idea.

The former NFL player and scout recently laid out the best — and worst — case scenarios for some of the more notable defensive picks in this year’s NFL Draft. You can read the entire piece by clicking here, but here’s what Brooks wrote about the “best-case scenario” for Hooker’s rookie season in Indy:

“The instinctive center fielder settles in quickly as the deep-middle defender in the Colts' single-high-safety scheme. Hooker not only gives the secondary an explosive over-the-top defender, but a ballhawk with outstanding instincts and ball skills. In a division featuring a couple of quarterbacks with high-turnover tendencies (Blake Bortles and rookie Deshaun Watson), Hooker's presence could be a game-changer for the Colts.”

————

That’s certainly the plan.

Hooker, in his first full year as a safety at Ohio State, showed off his elite cover skills as a sophomore in 2016, earning unanimous First Team All-American honors after leading the nation with three interceptions returned for touchdowns, and third in the nation with seven picks in all.

He’s expected to be a starter right away for the Colts in coordinator Ted Monachino’s 3-4 defense.

“Well, you just look at our ball production last year or lack thereof. It wasn’t good enough obviously and you’ve got to be able to take the ball away,” Colts head coach Chuck Pagano said. “Obviously this kid can do that, returning three (interceptions) for touchdowns. You get a guy with that rare talent and that rare ability. It will help us.”

The only downside so far for Hooker, however, is the fact he was unable to get on the field at all for the Colts during their offseason workout program due to January surgeries for a sports hernia and to his hip, which explains Brooks’ “worst-case scenario” for the rookie this year:

“Hooker's lengthy recovery from hip/hernia surgery prevents him from mastering the Colts' scheme and contributing right away as a starter. The lack of reps from the summer shows, and he spends most of his rookie season acclimating to the team's scheme instead of making plays in the back end.”

Will Colts fans be treated to a solid rookie season from Hooker — a Defensive Rookie of the Year performance, perhaps? — or will he take a little time to adjust? They’ll likely get their first chance to make that prediction at the end of July, when the team reports to training camp.




The analysis from those producing content on Colts.com does not necessarily represent the thoughts of the Indianapolis Colts organization. Any conjecture, analysis or opinions formed by Colts.com content creators is not based on inside knowledge gained from team officials, players or staff.
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