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NFL Draft 2017: Colts select Malik Hooker with first round pick

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NCAA Football: Fiesta Bowl-Ohio State vs Clemson Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Indianapolis Colts have selected Ohio State safety Malik Hooker with the 15th overall pick in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft.

A run on offensive players early on in the draft resulted in a ton of defensive talent getting pushed down the board, something that was surely quite welcome for Chris Ballard and the Colts. They had their choice between Hooker, Jonathan Allen, and Reuben Foster, three players who were arguably in the top ten of this draft class talent-wise.

A unanimous first-team All-American at Ohio State in 2016, Hooker played in 13 games and recorded 74 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, seven interceptions, and four passes defensed. Remember, Chris Ballard last week was very open about emphasizing catching among his defensive backs, and Hooker is a legitimate playmaker who can generate turnovers as a center fielder. The questions about Hooker are more about his tackling, but we know that Ballard emphasises turnovers and wants the Colts to be generating a lot of takeaways. Hooker will likely help that.

Malik Hooker joins a safety room with the Colts that includes Clayton Geathers, Darius Butler, and T.J. Green. I’d imagine that Geathers and Hooker are the guys who will be the projected starters, but what does that mean for Butler? It’s early still, but possibly it gives the Colts even more flexibility to move Geathers down in the box more and also move Butler in the slot more. And regarding Green? The Colts probably won’t be giving up on him yet, but nobody should expect Chris Ballard to automatically be loyal to him.

Ultimately, this pick was all about value for the Colts - and they had plenty of choices to pick from. Like I said earlier, you could argue that Allen, Foster, and Hooker are all top ten players talent-wise in this draft, and they all fell to the Colts. In the end, the Colts took Hooker, a defensive back who I’m sure Chuck Pagano is thrilled with. And as we said all along, what the Colts really need most desperately is defensive playmakers. Hooker certainly can be that.

Here’s a complete look at the Colts’ picks in the 2017 NFL Draft:

1st round, 15th overall

2nd round, 46th overall

3rd round, 80th overall

4th round, 122nd overall

4th round, 137th overall (from New England Patriots)

4th round, 144th overall (compensatory)

5th round, 158th overall

The Colts picked up an extra fourth round pick (137th overall) from the New England Patriots earlier this offseason in exchange for tight end Dwayne Allen and their sixth round pick. That’s where the team’s sixth round pick went, and their seventh round pick was traded early in the 2015 season to the Cleveland Browns as a conditional draft choice for Billy Winn. The Colts also received an extra fourth round pick this year (144th overall) as a compensatory pick because of the departure of tight end Coby Fleener to the New Orleans Saints last offseason.

To keep up with all of the picks throughout the league in the 2017 NFL Draft, check out our draft tracker here.

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What grade do you give this pick for the Colts?

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  • 60%
    A
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  • 27%
    B
    (1081 votes)
  • 7%
    C
    (299 votes)
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    (85 votes)
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