Chris Varughese

The Bears Brawl Writer, Jr. Editor and Draft Expert

Amani Hooker joins fellow 2019 safety prospect Mike Edwards on the list of prospects that the Chicago Bears can take. Amani Hooker falls into the higher end of prospects as far as round grades go. He is projected to go in the third round, and while the Bears do have a third round pick it isn’t certain if safety is the route they’ll choose to go. If they do choose to go safety Amani Hooker is going to be a quality option in the third round and maybe even a value pick.

Hooker is one of the most well rounded prospects to come out in a while. Weighing in at 210 lbs at 5’11, Hooker runs a 4.48 second 40-yard dash. He also got 37 inches on his vertical jump, which is just an indicator of his athleticism. Hooker is probably one of the most polished coverage safeties in the draft. He also shows great run support. Although those are positive aspects of his game he also has some parts of his game that he can work on during his professional career.

Source: Matthew Holst/Getty Images North America

Positives:
Amani Hooker is one of the best cover safeties in the draft. There are several things to look at in his game when examining his pass coverage abilities. For one thing, he always seems to be lined up in the slot position. In fact, he can probably make the smoothest transfer to slot corner or nickel back out of all the safeties in the draft since that has been his natural position at Iowa. Examining his coverage abilities, the first thing that pops out is his ability to always keep the receiver in front of him. He has the strength to battle physical slot receivers and tight ends while also being agile enough to change directions on a dime. He does a great job of staying light on his feet and this allows him to have a great break on the ball or to come up for run support. He’s also got very fluid hip motion. In zone coverage he has great eyes and covers a lot of ground laterally. His instincts and play recognition are also very good and will translate to the next level. He is also effective in blitz packages.

Negatives:

Even though Hooker is strong, he struggles to shed blocks in the secondary. He is easily put on the turf by the blocking receiver or tight end. This all stems from his poor center of gravity which could stem from poor footwork when trying to track down a runner. Instead of running with the blocker laterally to get to the ball carrier, he relies on his speed to just outmaneuver the blocker which doesn’t always work in his favor. Another issue is his ability to recover. In man coverage he likes to keep the receiver in front of him which can work well for bigger tight ends and receivers, but for shiftier running backs or quick wide receivers it can be a point of attack. Once those quicker guys get past him he lacks recovery speed to make a play on the ball.

Source: Matthew Holst/Getty Images North America

Summary:

Amani Hooker is one of the most polished prospects at his positions that a team will find in the middle rounds. His coverage skills are good enough that he can start on a secondary next season. In fact, he can start on a team that already has two starting caliber safeties on their roster by carving out a role in the slot. Although his listed position is safety, he can most easily make the transfer to the slot out of all the safeties in the draft. If a team is looking for a slot corner, taking a safety like Hooker to fill that spot is a great idea. In the case of the Bears, they did sign slot cornerback Buster Skrine in the offseason. Skrine, however, is approaching 30 and it is not an awful idea to replace him by picking a safety that can play in his spot. Hooker can also provide great depth at strong safety. Overall, his high floor helps overlook some of his flaws, but can develop into a great starter in almost any secondary in the league.

 

Here are some videos of Amani Hooker playing Iowa State and Maryland:

 

Iowa State:

Maryland: