Malik Hooker’s Game Drawing Comparisons To Ed Reed
April 28, 2017 02:46 PM | Kevin Bowen

INDIANAPOLIS - The phone was being passed to Chuck Pagano and on the other line was Malik Hooker, who the Colts had just selected with the 15th overall pick on Thursday night.

Pagano, a long-time defensive backs coach, was ecstatic to find a player like Hooker in the middle of Round One.

The praise Pagano offered Hooker?

About as high as it can get for an NFL safety.

"We felt like you're a top-five pick..." Pagano began.

"You're going to be another Eddie Reed. Closest thing I've seen (to Reed). I coached him in college. You're the closet thing I've seen (to Reed)."

Yes, Ed Reed. The nine-time Pro Bowler. The leading interception return man in NFL history. The future Hall of Famer.

That Ed Reed.

Pagano began seeing the Reed comparisons for Hooker early in the draft process.

Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano held the same position at the University of Miami, when Reed was in college.

Back then, Pagano was on the same coaching staff with Schiano, serving as Reed's defensive backs coach at Miami.

A decade and a half later, Schiano and Pagano see similar, uncommon, characteristics.

"(Schiano) was quoted as saying, 'This is the closest thing to Ed Reed,' Pagano said on Thursday night.

"That stood out to me."

Watch film on Hooker and the first thing you notice is that range.

Hash-to-hash, Hooker's ability to make up ground in the backend of a secondary is a luxury.

Hooker himself has heard the link to Reed.

"It's an honor for me," Hooker says. "To be compared to someone like Ed Reed, a football legend, it's a blessing for me.

"I definitely take that as a compliment. But I wouldn't dare put myself in that category."

Chris Ballard knows just how lofty it is to put a one-year college starter into that rarefied air.

"Well, let's slow down a little bit," Ballard said with a smile, upon hearing the Hooker/Reed comparison. "We're talking about a Hall of Famer. Let's pump the breaks a little bit."

The breaks are hardly used when Hooker is covering ground in the secondary.

Hooker's seven interceptions last year were the third most in college football. His three interceptions returned for touchdowns set an Ohio State school record (a record he achieved despite starting just 13 career games).

For a Colts defense largely void of such playmaking last season, Hooker's presence is welcomed.

"He's got that rare range, instincts and can make plays on the football," Pagano says.

"An elite athlete. I can't emphasize that enough."

The analysis from those producing content on does not necessarily represent the thoughts of the Indianapolis Colts organization. Any conjecture, analysis or opinions formed by content creators is not based on inside knowledge gained from team officials, players or staff.

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