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    Malik Hooker is off to a phenomenal start for the Cowboys

    The have not allowed a single opponent to reach the 20-point mark this season. We can thank guys like and for that, but it's time to show some love to . He is proving his worth so far this season.

    When you point to the stout Cowboys' , Hooker is a name people don't typically mention. Until his interception on an overthrown pass late in the 4th quarter to help seal the victory for Dallas, I had been overlooking his critical role on the backend of the defense.

    Hooker, the 15th-overall pick in the 2017 , has battled throughout his career. This season has been another good one, though; he has played 90% of the snaps, his most since 2018.

    In September 2020, as a member of the Colts, Hooker tore his Achilles. The Cowboys signed him last summer; he recovered well and played 15 games, recording 44 total tackles and one interception in 2021. Doing so led to the Cowboys re- him to a two-year extension in March of this year.

    Hooker is the 3rd highest-graded defender for the Cowboys through five games, only behind Parsons and .

    I will be the first to say I had absolutely no idea he had this type of start to the year.

    Hooker has started three of the five games this season for the Cowboys; he has recorded 15 solo tackles, half of his career high for a single season. With one interception he registered on Sunday, he is on pace to have his best season since he entered the league.

    The was arguably Hooker's best as a pro. He produced 51 tackles (30 solo), three pass deflections, two interceptions, and one fumble recovery. His 2018 campaign was nearly as good; it's a coin flip.

    Nonetheless, It was never a lack of talent for Hooker — it has just been his ability to stay healthy. Staying on the field a season ago and logging 446 snaps for the Cowboys gave them the confidence to re-sign him, and what a great decision it has turned out to be thus far.

    The more I look back and watch his play, the more I see his ability to be both a ballhawk and help support the defense in stopping the run.

    Successful Coverage Over Expectation (SCOE) is a metric created to show who the best coverage defenders are and help predict future coverage success. Hooker is ranked THIRD, and not far behind is , who is also having a very good year.

    A player like Hooker gets lost in the shuffle with multiple outstanding players throughout the defense. His big play Sunday allowed me to dive deeper into some of his numbers and realize he is quietly having one of the best seasons since he entered the league, and it's time to give him his flowers.

    The Cowboys might have the best trio in football at the position. Hooker and Wilson are playing outstanding right now, and once is 100%, the backend will only get better with calling the plays.

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    Shane Taylor
    Shane Taylor
    Cowboys fan from the Midwest. Writing is fun, Staff writer for Inside the Star. Follow me on twitter @ShaneTaylor43

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    Cowboys fan

    The only thing I didn’t like about Hookers INT last weekend was that he fell to the ground while nobody was around him and stayed there!! And cause he did that, our offense was stuck at the 10 yard line and wasn’t able to move up field, which gave the rams a short field when we had to punt!! Hooker should’ve got up and got as many yards as he could get, to give the offense better field position!! And if we still had to punt, then we would’ve been able to punt the ball further away, to give the rams a longer field!! Luckily for us, our defense held up and didn’t let the rams score!!