Malik Hooker has been the best defensive back in the National Football League over the first quarter of the season, it’s easy to forget that Hooker is still a rookie:

Photo credit: Icon Sportswire Author: Jon Kuzma

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The Indianapolis Colts took a gamble when they drafted Malik Hooker mainly because the former Ohio State safety had surgery on his shoulder (labrum) and his core to repair nagging injuries. Those health concerns scared plenty teams away from drafting the stand out defensive back but the Colts clearly made the right call when they selected Hooker with the 15th overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. Even though Malik Hooker sat out the first game of the season, since then the rookie free safety has been able to intercept 3 passes this year. That’s tied for the most in the league with Micah Hyde and it just goes to show how good Hooker’s ball hawk skills are. Every single game Hooker has suited up for he has came away with pick and you don’t consistently make those kind of plays unless you’re exceptional at reading the quarterback. Hooker can sit back in his deep zone and read opposing QB’s eyes which tells him exactly where the football is going. After Malik Hook identifies and diagnoses a play he then uses his game changing athleticism to close in on the football. That’s where the free safety’s hands come into play and we know Hooker has pretty good catching ability because he always seems to finish the play with a takeaway. By creating turnovers for the Colts defense Malik Hooker is doing everything he possibly can to keep his team competitive. Those skills will suit the Colts well moving forward into the season and it’s safe to say Indianapolis isn’t in the market for a free safety anymore. Instead Chuck Pagano’s team should focus on the other 21 positions on the field and make as many upgrades as possible. Andrew Luck is supposed to come back from an injury shortly so that should give this team a boost. Regardless though the Colts are getting plenty of big plays out of their rookie safety and Malik Hooker has a very bright future in the NFL.

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Bruno Mars

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