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Let’s Talk About The Bears’ Risk In Taking Malik Hooker Third Overall

Analysis and Commentary, NFL Draft

As it becomes more likely that the Chicago Bears won’t take a quarterback in the first round, the focus has shifted back to the defensive side of the ball.

And since the Bears seem set at linebacker, the primary targets for the third overall pick will likely be defensive line and secondary players.

In Daniel Jeremiah’s updated list of the NFL Draft’s 50 top prospects, you’ll see a familiar face at the top in Texas A&M’s Myles Garrett (who’s not likely to be on the board when the Bears’ pick); HOWEVER, you’ll also see someone whose stock seems to be on the rise for first-round consideration – Ohio State safety Malik Hooker.

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Jeremiah hasn’t wavered much when it comes to Hooker as a top prospect, ranking either second or third in each installment of Jeremiah’s prospect rankings – and for good reason. Hooker has the kind of instincts and ball-skills a safety needs to play in coverage, but also the physicality to play in-the-box against the run. Both skill-sets would be welcomed with open arms in Chicago after a season in which the Bears picked off just eight passes and recovered only three fumbles.

But there is one thing that presents a red flag of sorts.

Hooker underwent a pair of offseason surgeries, causing him to miss the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. Altogether, Hooker was expected to miss 4-6 months of action back in February, which would conceivably put him back in action anytime between June and August. That would put him in line to be available for most of camp, and more importantly, ready for Week 1 of the season. Still, a shoulder injury for a defender who will be an active tackler could be an issue, and the “core muscle” surgery is no walk in the park either.

The Ohio State product recently visited the Bears and is probably still in play to be chosen with the third overall pick (despite any injury concerns tied to his offseason surgery). Getting a clean bill of health would go a long way toward cementing Hooker’s spot as a top-5 prospect, making him a possibility with pick number three. If not, there is quality secondary depth in this draft, and the Bears can move on to another player.


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Because of the way the Bears have approached free agency, the team is in a spot to draft the best player available, and Hooker may very well be that guy. But before the Bears come to that conclusion, they will probably want to check out the medicals first.


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Luis Medina

Luis is the Lead Writer at The Ten-Yard Line, and you can find him on Twitter at @lcm1986.