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Cowboys Draft: S Amani Hooker Worth a Look in 2nd Round

I’m convinced the Dallas Cowboys’ biggest need heading into the 2019 NFL Draft lies at the safety position. Adding George Iloka was a good move in free agency, but the team needs to draft a young player with upside for the long term. With a pretty deep safety class, I believe they’ll find a quality player in the second round, despite not being on the clock until the 58th pick. Many prospects have been thoroughly discussed by now, but there’s a prospect that’s been flying a bit under the radar so far.

I’m talking about Iowa Safety Amani Hooker.

Although he’s below players like Taylor Rapp, Jonathan Abram and maybe even guys like Juan Thornhill, Hooker might be one of the most realistic options at #58. If the board is wiped out from the top prospects, Amani Hooker would make for a good value pick at the end of the second round. Because make no mistake about it, this safety draft class may not see a prospect go in the first round, but many of these teams likely won’t resist drafting them in the second.

Amani Hooker was a two year starter in college and was named the Big Ten Defensive Back of the Year in 2018, his junior season. Hooker is a very intelligent player, constantly displaying his high football IQ and his great instincts to get in position to make a play. Often, he’s quick to read the opponent’s play and makes up for his lack of athleticism by avoiding to take false steps. Dane Brugler from The Athletic actually posed an interesting question on the subject the other day on Twitter:

Dane Brugler on Twitter

Studying #Iowa’s Amani Hooker and #Marshall’s Malik Gant back-to-back was an interesting contrast of two very different safeties. Would you rather have the better athlete who takes false steps (Gant) or the lesser athlete who doesn’t take false steps (Hooker)?

I don’t know about you, but my answer to the above question would 100% be Amani Hooker.

Plus, his athletic testing wasn’t bad. Including a 4.48 time in the 40 yard dash, Hooker did a good job. His numbers don’t translate as you’d wish to his tape, but could be a flash of promise at his biggest weakness.

The Iowa product has a lot to improve on in man to man coverage, where he struggled at times. He also isn’t a player you’d like to start as a single-high safety, he lacks the range to do so.

However, he could be a starter right away as a strong safety, which is precisely what the Cowboys should be looking for. Hooker is a pretty good tackler and constantly takes good angles when pursuing the ball carrier. He has experience as a free and strong safety and has even played as an undersized SAM linebacker. Not to mention, he’s only 20 years old, which makes his upside all the more valuable.

His versatility, instincts and football IQ led to a junior season with four interceptions, 11 deflections and 3.5 tackles for loss. Amani Hooker could step right in as a starting strong safety and compete with Jeff Heath and George Iloka in Dallas.

If he’s the best safety remaining when the Cowboys are on the clock in the second round, they shouldn’t hesitate to call his name. Personally, I like this draft prospect very much and would be excited to see him wearing the Star.

Now, I know a highlight tape doesn’t show half the picture, but I’ll leave this video here for you to enjoy.

Tell me what you think about “Cowboys Draft: S Amani Hooker Worth a Look in 2nd Round” in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!

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Mauricio Rodriguez

Written by Mauricio Rodriguez

I love to write, I love football and I love the Dallas Cowboys. I've been rooting for America's team all the way from Mexico ever since I can remember. If you want to talk football, I'm in... You'll find me at @MauNFL.

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