Colts Take Ohio State Safety Malik Hooker with 15th Pick in NFL Draft

The Colts revamping of their defense took another step forward on Thursday night, as the team took Ohio State safety Malik Hooker with the 15th pick in the 2017 NFL Draft.

At 6-foot-1, 206 pounds, Hooker was considered the second-best safety in the rookie class. LSU’s Jamal Adams went to the New York Jets at No. 6.

The Colts never expected the big-hitting playmaker they’ve been seeking for years to be there when their turn came up.

Hooker played only two seasons with the Buckeyes but had a breakout year in 2016. He had 74 tackles, seven interceptions and returned three for touchdowns — exactly the kind of game-changer coach Chuck Pagano and new general manager Chris Ballard were looking for in the draft.

Indy could have taken one of two Alabama players — defensive tackle Jonathan Allen or linebacker Reuben Foster — at positions where they could have used help.

But Pagano said he was sold on Hooker after Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano told him Hooker was the closest safety he’s seen to Ed Reed. Schiano and Pagano were both assistants on the University of Miami staff when Reed was in school.


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