DB Amani Hooker, Iowa*

5’11” – 210 lbs. – 4.48

Appeared in a special-teams capacity as a freshman, then became a starter the following season, posting 56 tackles, two interceptions, and two passes defensed. Picked up another 65 tackles, four interceptions, and seven breakups in 2018 before declaring for the draft. Thickly-built safety who often drops down into the box or shades over a slot receiver; not many snaps in which he’s lined up in high zones well off the line of scrimmage. Aggressive safety who loves to deliver hits as a downhill player; hard-nosed football player who has the sense of urgency teams look for. Has a pretty good nose for the ball, being able to sniff out screens and play developments and flow toward runners. Physical player who can disrupt opposing receivers at the line or fight through blockers to make tackles on screens; plays with a low center of gravity and impressive functional strength to attack blocks. Able to help set the tone defensively with big hits, generating pop on contact and using effective wrap tackling technique. However, can sometimes let his aggression get the best of him, causing him to take narrow angles to the ball which leave him unable to make tackles; would like to see him try to go around the outside shoulder of blockers instead of slipping under them. In off-coverage, played a lot of shuffle technique against opposing receivers, demonstrating the quick feet to carry route-runners down the seams and passing them off to defenders in deeper zones; may not have the top-end speed to go stride-for-stride down the field in man coverage. Put himself in position to make plays on the ball in coverage when targeted and exhibits solid ball skills to break up passes or secure interceptions. Good at anticipating and undercutting throws for the interception. Ultimately requires some projection to a traditional safety role because he wasn’t asked to handle single-high or cover-2 looks from well off the line of scrimmage, and may not really have the speed or length to get over to the sideline consistently and provide help over the top on downfield throws. Looks like a solid candidate to carry runners out of the backfield on pass routes or match up against flex tight ends, but wasn’t able to get a good feel for that during the games reviewed. A tough, instinctive football player who may project as more of a box safety, rover, or nickel defender, but who offers a high floor in any of those roles and looks like a solid second-day candidate.

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