Colts S-Malik Hooker gets ready for a play.
PITTSBURGH, PA - NOVEMBER 03: Malik Hooker #29 of the Indianapolis Colts looks on during the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on November 3, 2019 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

Colts 2021 Free Agent Watch: Malik Hooker

INDIANAPOLIS – What could have been.

That is likely how the career of Malik Hooker will be looked at in Indianapolis.

-First, the torn ACL after a promising start to his rookie season.

-Then, the torn Achilles in the second game of his contract year this past season.

It’s those two major injuries that have stunted Hooker’s development in the NFL.

At the age of 24, Hooker has played in just 36 of a possible 64 games after four years.

Hooker was the first draft pick of the Chris Ballard era, with the Colts thinking they had selected a centerfielder that could ballhawk and provide a sturdy last line of defense.

When Hooker’s been healthy and in the lineup, he hasn’t lived up to the 15th overall pick billing. He’s been a capable safety, but not at the level of a middle of Round 1 pick.

Calling the draft selection of Hooker ‘a miss’ would be accurate.

Fortunately for the Colts, Ballard has followed up that pick with needed hits at safety in Khari Willis (4th round in 2019) and Julian Blackmon (3rd round in 2020).

Those are the starting safeties of the future.

So much adds up to Hooker looking to prove himself elsewhere as a starting safety in free agency, especially after the Colts didn’t pick up his 5th year option for the 2021 season last offseason.

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