Malik Hooker among 10 Best Unsigned Free Agents Under 30

Former Colts safety Malik Hooker is listed among the 10 best remaining unsigned free agents under the age of 30.
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The Indianapolis Colts still have one of their own prominent free agents who remains on the open market.

Safety Malik Hooker has had a lot of buzz surrounding his career, but injuries, a questionable scheme fit, and slow development have dampened some of that enthusiasm.

Still, there are plenty of people who believe in that potential, which has led Bleacher Report's Maurice Moton to list Hooker among the 10 best unsigned free agents under the age of 30.

8. Malik Hooker, S (25)

When healthy, Malik Hooker can serve as the last line of defense in the secondary. He's a ball-hawking free safety with the ability to read the quarterback and force turnovers.

In four seasons, Hooker has recorded seven interceptions and 11 pass breakups, but he's missed 28 games. Last season, the oft-injured safety tore his Achilles in Week 2.

Teams have likely shied away from Hooker because of his injury history, but at the right price, he's a high-value pickup with upside.

Unlike B.J. Goodson, who may have to sub out on third downs, Hooker has starting potential in an every-down role at his position. In 2018, he played 87 percent of the defensive snaps through 14 outings. The Ohio State product slides in at No. 8.

Best Fit: Arizona Cardinals

The Arizona Cardinals must find a potential starter to line up alongside Budda Baker. Jalen Thompson and Deionte Thompson still have a lot to prove. The front office signed Shawn Williams, but he's far from a roster lock at 30 years old coming off a campaign in which he played 86 defensive snaps.

If Hooker stays healthy, he'd complement Baker, who's recorded just two interceptions in four terms.

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Hooker, 25, is all but certain to play somewhere other than Indianapolis in 2021. He has taken some free-agent visits this offseason to the Dallas Cowboys, Miami Dolphins, and Pittsburgh Steelers.

Since the Colts moved into their Cover-2 defense in 2018, Hooker's performance has been inconsistent, to say the least. Although they began moving into more Cover-3 looks in 2020 which may have suited him better, he was already hurt and an impending free agent this spring.

His replacement with the Colts, Julian Blackmon, came in as a rookie and gave the defense an injection of well-rounded playmaking and consistency at the position, helping make it easier for the team to move on from their former first-round pick.

Hooker tore his Achilles in Week 2 of the 2020 season but appears to be ready to go for the 2021 season whenever he signs somewhere.

Since becoming the 15th-overall pick by the Colts in 2017, Hooker has started 35-of-36 games, totaling 124 tackles (1 for loss), 2 fumbles recovered, 7 interceptions, and 11 pass breakups.

According to Pro Football Focus, they also credited him with 15 "stops," which are considered a forced failure against the offense. Hooker had a career opponent passer rating of 86.2 when targeted in his career.

Where do you think Hooker will land? Drop your thoughts below in the comment section!


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