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Indianapolis Colts: Malik Hooker Already Looks Like A Steal

Malik Hooker entered the 2017 NFL Draft without much hype and ended up being selected by the Indianapolis Colts with the No. 15 overall pick. Chris Ballard made a concerted effort to improve the Colts’ defense in the draft and early on Hooker already looks like a major steal.

At just 21 years old, Hooker has already assumed a leadership role in the Indianapolis secondary.


Over the past few seasons, the Colts have had one of the worst defenses in the NFL. They still have a weak defense, but they have a lot of young talent growing that will turn that around over the next few seasons. Hooker may very well end up being the steal of the draft and Chuck Pagano and the Colts’ coaching staff are starting to see results early.

Through his first three NFL games, Hooker has already picked off two passes. He has made nine tackles, while also deflecting two passes. Indianapolis hasn’t had a dominant playmaking safety like Hooker has the potential to be since Bob Sanders was forced to retire due to injuries.

Standing in at 6-foot-2 and 212 pounds, Hooker does not have the small size problem that seemed to plague Sanders. He is a physical tackler, although he does need some work on his angles and open field tackling.

Being able to snag a potential superstar with the No. 15 pick is something that the Colts desperately needed. They have been mediocre over the past two seasons with Andrew Luck going through injury problems, but have not tanked. That has left them with middle of the pack picks and quite a few draft busts under former general manager Ryan Grigson.

Hooker has shown his ability to cover receivers, range across the field, and read opposing offensive plays. He has excellent gut instincts and will only continue to get better as he gains more NFL experience.

Needless to say, it is a bit too early to pass final judgement on the pick, but early signs are strong in the Colts’ favor. Rebuilding a defense is hard to do without a talented safety. Indianapolis can now focus on other areas of their defense, especially the pass rush, in the next couple years.

Expect to see the Colts’ defense continue to improve as the season continues on. Hooker is not alone when it comes to talent and the Colts are hoping to become playoff contenders as they get healthy. Having Vonte Davis and Quincy Wilson back at full health will be a big step in the right direction.

All of that being said, Hooker is the brightest young player that the Colts currently have on their roster. There is a good chance that within the next few years, he will be among the NFL’s elite at the safety position.

Do you think Malik Hooker was the steal of the 2017 NFL Draft? Let us know your thoughts in the comment box below!

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Evan Massey
Evan Massey is a sportswriter that has seen his work featured on ESPN, Yahoo! Sports, Fox Sports, Sports Illustrated Forbes, and many other publications. You can find him on Twitter at @massey_evan.

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