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What would adding Malik Hooker do for the Steelers defense

The veteran safety is rumoured to have interest in joining his hometown team

Indianapolis Colts v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Former Indianapolis Colts 2017 first round pick Malik Hooker has landed back in his native Pittsburgh following a number of free agent visits. After a number of rumors circled the internet of reported interest between Hooker and the Steelers a couple weeks back, the free safety put the fan base on high alert following a number of interactions on social media himself. Whether or not he actually signs with the Steelers has yet to be seen, but adding a player like Hooker would impact this team and here’s how.

Depth

First and foremost the Steelers don’t have any quality depth at their safety position. Aside from Miles Killebrew who has transitioned into a special teams/linebacker type roll they have no one else with NFL game experience. Hooker brings a first round pedigree to wherever he lands. Minkah Fitzpatrick and Terrell Edmunds would certainly welcome another veteran presence to the room. Heaven forbid either of the Steelers safeties got hurt, but having Hooker on the roster would certainly lessen the blow if it did happen.

Of course he is nursing a ruptured achilles tendon, so signing with a team that wouldn't immediately need him to play is ideal for both sides.

Sub-packages

Once Hooker is 100% cleared to return to NFL activities the first roll that jumps to mind is his ability to be the Steelers’ third safety and roll him onto the field in sub-packages. Given the situation, Hooker can play his natural single high safety spot while Fitzpatrick bounces down into coverage in the slot.

Competition

If the Steelers bring in Hooker it will certainly dial up the heat on the already hot seat of one Terrell Edmunds. To give Edmunds his credit he has improved every year of his career and shut down tight ends throughout the 2020 season. But lapses have seen the 2018 first rounder lose the faith of much of Steelers nation. Lump in the team declining his fifth year option, something they have only ever done before to Artie Burns and Jarvis Jones, and clearly everybody will want to see more out of Edmunds.

Having someone to push him on the roster might be what the doctor ordered, or the Steelers will simply find someone better to replace him anyway. The way I see it, it’s a win-win.


But what do you think? Should the Pittsburgh Steelers bring in Malik Hooker? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.