If the Colts are going to be successful this season, they’re going to need their rookie class to step up. Safety Malik Hooker was their most impressive rookie on Sunday night.
Rookie of the Game – Safety Malik Hooker.
In today’s NFL, a playmaking free safety can totally transform a team’s defense and turn them into a contender. You have to look no further than last night’s opponent as Earl Thomas showed off incredible range in shutting down the deep passing game.
Many draft analysts compared Malik Hooker to Earl Thomas during the pre-draft process, and he’s shown many of those traits already in his first NFL season.
Hooker had 7 interceptions in 13 games last season at Ohio State, and the former Buckeye is off to a hot start this year with 3 interceptions in the Colts’ last 3 games.
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Hooker’s interception last night came off the hands of tight end Jimmy Graham as Hooker was bearing down ready to make a play. The Colts’ rookie safety made a one-handed grab off of the tipped pass, and returned it 29 yards setting up a game-tying field goal late in the third quarter.
Hooker’s impact on this defense has immediately become evident, and 14 NFL teams are kicking themselves for passing on him due to some concerns with his injury history.
It’s obviously early in his career, but Malik Hooker has shown Hall of Fame-level talent through his first four games with the Colts.