Malik Hooker   S/CB   Ohio State  

TALENT
ROUND
1

STRENGTHS
Malik might be the best pure cover safety in this draft. In fact he has enough athletic talent to work as a corner back in the right style of defense. He has good football intelligence, quick feet and excellent hands to make acrobatic interceptions. He is a weapon when being used as the single free safety because of his speed and ability to read the quarterbacks eyes. He has enough size to cover linebackers going down the slot and the speed to cover those pass catching running backs coming out of the back field on those pesky wheel routes. When Malik plays his assignment and his opponent makes a mistake he is an impact playmaking football player. He is excellent at timing up blitz from deep defensive formations and from the slot because of his instincts. Malik should be an impact player for the team that selects him in this draft.

CONCERNS
Before Malik can be everything his talents suggest he can become he has a lot of little details to work on. First, he has to become more of a coach for the defensive backs on the field. He has to communicate with them and work more in tandem. Malik also has to become more consistent when tackling, wrapping up and making sure tackles instead of making the big hit. He has to take better tackling angles and stop guessing to make the big play. Malik has the athletic talent to become an impact player but it wonít happen at the next level if he doesnít continue to develop these details.

BOTTOM LINE
Malik can make a lot of plays when he is in coverage but he gives up too much against the run and helping out on running plays. He is tough kid and has no hesitation when supporting the run and going to make a tackle but he has to learn to gain better control of his body in the open field and go low and wrap up. His inconsistency in this area is not good for a safety at the next level. I do think he might be better suited to play corner back because of his excellent cover skills, toughness and intelligence and the fact that as a corner, angles for tackling someone in the open field are easier to see. Thatís Malikís biggest problem, its taking the right angles to the play when itís a running play right at him. He has no problems when the ball is in the air talking the correct angles to make a tackle or to intercept a ball but running plays between the tackles he struggles. A safety is just that, a safety. He needs to make tackles once a running back or any player breaks the line of scrimmage. He doesnít have to make the play AT the line of scrimmage or make the big hit but he does have to make the sure tackle. Malik handles the angles very well on sweeps to his side. The problem is coming up and seeing the angles between the tackles when the play is right at him. This is why with his excellent cover skills I think moving Malik to a corner back position and using him inside in the slot just might be the key to him becoming a pro bowl player. He definitely has that type of potential.

Drew Boylhart  JAN.2017