With the No. 15 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, the Indianapolis Colts select safety Malik Hooker out of Ohio State. 

Indianapolis Colts

Pete Prisco’s Grade: A

Chuck Pagano just might have gotten his next Ed Reed. The kid has great range in the middle of the field.

Instant analysis 

The Colts spent a whole bunch of money this offseason remaking their front seven, and with this pick, they added a ball-hawking safety to top things off. Simply put, Hooker has the best ball skills of any defensive back in this draft class. He covers a ton of ground as a classic center field safety, and he has rare anticipation and instincts when it comes to knowing where the ball will be thrown deep down the field. He started only one season for the Buckeyes, but he finished that year with seven picks and three touchdowns. He is a true playmaker on the back end, the kind that can instantly raise the ceiling of his team’s defense because he will help force more turnovers with his speed and range. He’s not the best downhill tackler or in-box coverage man, but let him loose in deep coverage and he will make offenses pay for testing him. 

Fantasy impact

“The Colts needed help on defense, and Malik Hooker falling in their lap was a great situation. He could turn this defense around by himself. That said, the Colts DST still has a long way to go before Fantasy owners can trust him. But this now puts the Colts DST in the conversation as a bye-week replacement during the year off waivers.” — Jamey Eisenberg

NFL comparison

Ed Reed: When it comes to range and ball-hawking instincts at the safety position, Reed is the supreme prototype. And while high praise to mention such a young player in the same breath as the future Hall of Famer, Hooker’s skill-set is very similar with his athleticism, anticipation in coverage and ball skills. The comparison doesn’t mean that Hooker is destined to have the same career as Reed, but the talent is very comparable.

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