Should Washington Football Team Sign Former Colts Star Malik Hooker?

After failing to address the need at free safety, Ron Rivera should be intrigued by signing Malik Hooker
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The addition of Jamin Davis was the icing on the cake to a sweet defense for the Washington Football Team. Entering draft weekend, coach Ron Rivera was an athletic linebacker and free safety away from having perhaps the league's top defense.  

Depending on who one asks, they're still missing that free safety. We say that could be fixed before Week 1 with the addition of free agent Malik Hooker. ... as long as it is understood that there is a large "if'' in the middle of the idea.

WFT drafted versatile defender Benjamin St-Juste out of Minnesota with the No. 74 pick to help improve a top-five secondary. The 6'3" Golden Gopher is considered a hybrid player, though WFT defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio will try him at cornerback first. 

Of course, should St-Juste hit immediately, WFT could transition Kendall Fuller back inside as the primary slot defender — an area he thrived in early coming on in his career. That's an ideal situation but one that is still unknown. 

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Perhaps fifth-round selection Darrick Forrest's cover skills will help him earn some reps during the 2021 season, but Rivera views him as a special-teams ace. Despite second-year standout Kam Curl recording three interceptions, he's better used as a strong safety. 

The idea of Landon Collins moving down to full-time linebacker was something Rivera discussed with the rehabbing safety. For now, Del Rio will keep him on the strong side for at least training camp. 

A healthy Hooker can help. And there's that "if.''

Even in a limited role for the Indianapolis Colts, Hooker's presence was top-notch in coverage. Since coming out of Ohio State, the former No. 15 pick has finished with a coverage grade of 65.4 or better. 

Hooker also has recorded at least two interceptions and three pass breakups in each of his first three years. 

The biggest knock against Hooker is his availability. Since 2017, he's missed at least two games or more, with season-ending injuries in both his rookie and final season at the Horseshoe. 

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The 2019 campaign allowed Colts GM Chris Ballard to toy with the idea of extending Hooker following the decline of the fifth-year option. He recorded a career-high 51 combined tackles, three passes defensed and two interceptions. 

A Week 2 torn Achilles against Minnesota ultimately ended the conversation. 

WFT's defense has been heralded for its well-rounded structure at each level. Collins, who also is coming off a torn Achilles, might be best suited playing near the line of scrimmage. 

Hooker can do it all. He has shown high-end starter capabilities but doesn't have the numbers to back it up. In a full healthy season with WFT, it would be a prove-it season for Hooker to remain a starter and stabilize the coverage. 

Now to the downside, as Hooker reportedly makes his way to Miami for a workout: A source tells WashingtonSI that in at least one of his recent NFL tryouts, "The medicals didn't work out.''

That might be a gentle way of saying that Hooker is not ready to pass a physical just yet.

But a free safety might be the only tool missing here. Hooker adds tremendous value for a bargain price. It's not just a cheap option, it's also one that fits the missing hole in D.C.'s defense.

No, it's not worth a contract offer just yet. It's worth a tryout, though ... as a passed physical would make a good defense vault closer to "great.''

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