Raiders

Raiders Should Pull The Trigger On S Malik Hooker

Few things are sure in life. Death, Taxes, and the Las Vegas Raiders defensive secondary giving up big pass plays.

The Raiders will enter the offseason with a new defensive coordinator in Gus Bradley after dismissing Paul Guenther. Nevertheless, they’re plagued by the same concerns that have haunted them for the better part of 15 years. Safety Malik Hooker could become a solution in alleviating said concerns. 

Malik Hooker is the deep safety Raider fans have craved

At the risk of sounding like Sofia from The Golden Girls, we ask you to do us a favor. Picture it, third-and-15 from the Raiders’ 38-yard line. After blowing up a run play in the backfield and Maxx Crosby forcing a rushed throwaway, Las Vegas is one play away from getting off the field and allowing the offense to take over. The opposing quarterback drops back to pass and faces little to no pressure before unleashing a bomb down the field.

If this happens to the Raiders, as currently constructed, we already know the pass is completed for a huge gain. Let’s not discuss the worst-case scenario. The Raiders have desperately needed a deep safety to man the middle of the field. With Erik Harris and Jeff Heath slated to hit free agency, the roster is in dire need of a boost to the position. How about a former first-round pick on a prove-it deal?

Hooker spent his first four seasons with the Indianapolis Colts but injuries limited the Ohio State product to only 36 games. The potential he showed on the field was hard to deny. Hooker has seven career interceptions despite playing in a scheme that didn’t always suit him.

Related: Raiders Must Pursue Free Agent CB Richard Sherman

Hooker is the value piece new DC Gus Bradley could maximize

Speaking of schemes, new defensive coordinator Gus Bradley is best known for the Cover 3 looks from his days in Seattle and Jacksonville. However, Gus has evolved a bit after he took over the Los Angeles Chargers defense in 2017.

Bradley has incorporated more Cover 0 and Cover 1 looks over the years while leading a relatively solid ‘Bolts’ unit. The Raiders have seen their fair share of Cover 1 since 2017 as well. The issue was they lacked a true ballhawk over the middle to make it effective. Malik Hooker is tailor-made for such a role. His presence would also allow Johnathan Abram to fit into his natural place of heatseeker around the line of scrimmage. 

As of now Las Vegas isn’t exactly swimming in cap space. That makes options like Hooker even more enticing. Coming off another season cut short by an Achilles tear, Malik won’t break the bank and could provide a big boost in a long-needed area of improvement for the Silver and Black.

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*Top Photo: Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

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Gabriel D. Martin

Yes! Raiders had a shot at Hooker the first time around. He’s a hitter, and an awesome answer to AFC West TE challenges!

Mike Dennis

Heath under contract for one more year.

adrianfrsj

Colts have a ton of cap space, so this ain’t happening