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Report: Colts Free Agent Safety Malik Hooker Visited the Steelers on Thursday

Indianapolis Colts v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Indianapolis Colts free agent safety Malik Hooker visited the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday:

The former 2017 first round pick of the Colts made 35 career starts in 4 seasons for Indianapolis, recording 81 tackles (43 solo), a tackle for loss, 7 interceptions, 11 passes defensed, and 2 fumble recoveries.

While Hooker showed flashes of his unique ballhawk skills at times, his Colts career was significantly hindered by injuries over his first few seasons—including a season-ending torn Achilles suffered in Week 2 of last year.

It’s also arguable whether Hooker has been miscast a bit as a ‘Cover 2’ zone safety in Indianapolis, where he could be better featured as a freelancing, single-high safety elsewhere—better utilizing his centerfield range and impressive ball-tracking skills.

In turn, the Colts seem to value versatility (with the ability to be deployed interchangeably) and sure tackling among their safeties—neither of which has exactly been a calling card for Hooker.

There’s also the issue that one of the best abilities is ‘availability’, and Hooker simply hasn’t been—having missed 28 starts over his first four seasons due to injuries.

The Colts have indicated their intent to move on from Hooker for a number of weeks already, as there has been no reported noise of the two parties negotiating with one another at all.

With both Khari Willis and Julian Blackmon in the fold, the Colts are solidly set at starting safety with two young playmakers in the back of their secondary.

Likewise, the Colts already signed veteran safety Sean Davis and drafted rookie safety Shawn Davis recently in this year’s draft’s 5th round for additional positional depth.

Hooker has already made ‘free agency tour’ stops with both the Miami Dolphins and Dallas Cowboys earlier this offseason, and it appears the Steelers were the latest in line.