News

Profiling the Prospects: Why Malik Hooker's 'instincts' make him an elite prospect

*

Over the next month, ClevelandBrowns.com will break down some of the best players in this year's NFL Draft class and what they could bring to Cleveland's youth-laden roster.*

Name:S Malik Hooker, Ohio State

Measurables: 6-foot-1, 206 pounds

What makes him a first-round pick?

In his first year as a starter, Hooker emerged as arguably the most dominant player on a talented Ohio State defense. The ball-hawking safety led the Buckeyes with seven interceptions (tied for second-most nationally) and, in the process, became a first-round prospect.

While teams could have concerns about his lack of experience (he has 13 career starts), Hooker's knack for making plays on the ball makes him one of the elite talents in this year's draft class. NFL.com's Lance Zierlein described him as the "ultimate lurker" and that Hooker's "instincts are always bringing him to the football and when he gets there he has the ball skills to take it away."

"His lack of game experience and issues with tackle consistency will likely show themselves early in his career," Zierlein continued, "but his ability to flip the field is worthy of an aggressive projection. He has the talent to be a high-impact starter for years in the NFL."

**

Biggest college moment?**

In a double-overtime thriller, Ohio State edged arch rival Michigan and ultimately advanced to the College Football Playoff with that win in tow. The Buckeyes, though, probably wouldn't have been so fortunate had Hooker not recorded his third pick-six of the season. Trailing 3-0 early, the safety plucked away an errant throw and returned it 16 yards for a touchdown. Ohio State won 30-27.  Hooker finished with an interception and seven tackles.

How did he do at the combine?

Speaking of the Michigan game, Hooker suffered a sports hernia and torn hip labrum and had surgery in January to repair the damage. As such, he was unable to participate at the Combine or at Ohio State's Pro Day last Thursday. Hooker said he hopes to be ready by rookie minicamp.

Quote to know

"I put too much work in with those guys, and it would've been like I was letting them down, you know. We went through the offseason, the grind, I feel like everything that I worked for in the offseason and that we worked for as a team, that would've been thrown away if I didn't go out there and compete with those guys." — Hooker on playing vs. Clemson with sports hernia/torn hip labrum

**

Why he would make sense for the Browns?**

Hooker flashed some seriously brilliant moments at Ohio State — there's a reason why the redshirt sophomore is widely viewed as a top-15 pick despite 13 career starts. The Browns finished 23rd in interceptions (10) last season and could stand to add the rangy safety deep in the secondary.  

Reasons why he won't be available at No. 12?

Even with his relative lack of experience and offseason surgery, most mock drafts have Hooker going in the top 10.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content

Advertising