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Malik Hooker should be on the Ravens’ free agent radar

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Carolina Panthers v Indianapolis Colts Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

There’s a general consensus that the Ravens biggest positional needs this offseason are wide receiver, offensive line, and edge rusher — in no particular order. However, that does mean other areas on the roster can be addressed or bolstered. This includes in the defensive backfield, specifically at the safety position where the Ravens lack depth.

A few weeks ago, Baltimore Beatdown’s Joshua Reed wrote about why adding another safety to the mix is important for the Ravens this offseason. With this in mind, the question then becomes who could that player be?

The draft of course presents an opportunity to acquire a safety, but so too does free agency. There’s one player on the market who should be on the Ravens’ radar, and that’s Malik Hooker.

Hooker, had his fifth-year option declined by the Colts last year and is set to become an unrestricted free agent in the coming weeks. The former Ohio State product, who is set to turn 25 years old in April, was drafted 15th overall by Indianapolis in 2017. He’s had a bit of an up-and-down start to his career.

Health has been a detriment to his success. In four seasons, Hooker has played only 36 total games and has yet to suit up for 16 contests. His rookie campaign was cut short after seven contests and he suffered a torn Achilles in 2020 after Week 2, which sidelined him for the remainder of the year.

It goes without saying that his lengthy injury history is a red flag. However, if healthy and on the field, Hooker has proven capable of making an impact. He has seven career interceptions and recorded 96 combined tackles from 2018-2019. There’s a reason, after all, that he was a first-round pick and highly-regarded coming out of college.

PFF recently listed Hooker as the most underrated free agent at the safety position this year:

The key point from the above quote is that, “Hooker can provide quality coverage over the middle of the field when he is healthy.” This is exactly why he should be on the Ravens radar. Hooker fits the profile of a natural free safety with range in coverage, which is something they don’t exactly have on the roster as is.

Adding Hooker into the mix would allow the Ravens to play more dime packages and utilize Chuck Clark and DeShon Elliott in more versatile roles. Relying on Hooker to be healthy seems like a risky proposition, but his talent and scheme fit makes him worth a flier.

Also, it doesn’t appear that it would be a costly signing, either. In that same PFF article, they projected him to receive $2 million on a one-year deal. Similarly, OverTheCap estimates his value around $1.3 million, also for one year. If Hooker’s actual market value is anywhere in this ballpark, the Ravens shouldn’t hesitate to pursue him.

He fits the bill of a low-risk, potentially high-reward investment.