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Cleveland Browns: FS Malik Hooker Would Instantly Upgrade Suspect Secondary


It goes without saying that the 1-15 Cleveland Browns need impact players in all areas—most notably on pass defense—one player who may be able to help them is Ohio State free safety Malik Hooker.

Hooker, a 6’2 205 pound First-Team All-American redshirt sophomore, who has drawn comparisons to future Hall of Fame safety, Ed Reed, may very well be the best defensive back prospect in the upcoming 2017 NFL Draft.

While some may argue that LSU safety Jamal Adams maybe be slightly better, however Hooker’s combination of range, instincts and nose for the ball may tempt a team to take him in the first round ahead of Adams.

During the year, the New Castle, PA native notched seven interceptions—three returned for a touchdown—74 total tackles, and Hooker would be a perfect building block for a secondary that has an aging—and recently injury-prone—Joe Haden, an up-and-coming Briean Boddy-Calhoun and Jamar Taylor.

Whether they refuse to admit it or not, but the Browns truly missed Pro Bowl safety Tashaun Gipson—who left in free agency for a five-year $35.5 million deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars—Hooker would provide Cleveland with a much-needed ball-hawking enforcer over the top.

If things go accordingly, the Browns are a lock to take Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett at No.1, what may be the proverbial fly in the ointment is who does Cleveland take at No.12?

A range of players such as the aforementioned Adams, linebackers Reuben Foster and Tim Williams (Alabama), linebacker Zack Cunningham (Vanderbilt), linebacker Jarrad Smith, cornerbacks Quincy Wilson and Teez Tabor (Florida), hybrid safety/linebacker Jabrill Peppers (Michigan), pass rusher Derek Barnett (Tennessee) and the flavor of the month in defensive end/tackle Solomon Thomas of Stanford, may also be on the board along with Hooker for the Browns to take at No.12

Obviously, a player such as Hooker would be a gem for the Browns and combined with Garrett and newly-hired defensive coordinate Gregg Williams, would help Cleveland’s much-maligned defense.

But who do the Browns take if Hooker is—or isn’t–on the board?

A case could be made for any of them, and due to the Browns reportedly re-signing Pro Bowl linebacker Jamie Collins to a four-year extension worth a reported $56 million dollars, with $26 million guaranteed, Cleveland may draft a blue-chip DB to upgrade their suspect secondary or a hard-hitting ILB to complement Collins, and promising up and coming players such as Christian Kirksey, Nate Orchard, Carl Nassib and Emmanuelle Ogbah, and the Browns could have the makings of a revamped and sleepy-good defense in 2017.


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Robert D. Cobb
Founder, Publisher and CEO of INSCMagazine. Works have appeared and featured in places such as Forbes, Huffington Post, ESPN and NBC Sports to name a few. Follow me on Twitter at @RobCobb_INSC, email me at [email protected]

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