Malik Hooker vs. Jamal Adams? Easy Decision

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malik hooker vs. jamal adams

Probably the biggest debate happening among Bears fans regarding the draft is whether or not to pick a safety with the #3 pick. That and if so, who it should be? The Malik Hooker vs. Jamal Adams argument is a fascinating one. Both are such talented young men who likely will have prosperous careers in the NFL when it’s all said and done. Still, the job of this front office is to pick the best player. So who is it?

A lot of people will chant for Adams but likely not because they’ve actually watched the tape. He’s just been in the public eye more often the past couple months. Hooker had surgery at the end of last season which forced him to miss the scouting combine and Ohio State pro day. So of course Adams is more preferred because he’s made the most of not going head-to-head with Hooker in drills.

The truth is that still shouldn’t be enough. Hooker is the best safety in this draft and maybe the best in at least a decade. Here’s why.

Malik Hooker vs. Jamal Adams breakdown

Measurements

  • Adams – 6’1″, 214 lbs, 9.25-inch hands
  • Hooker – 6’2″, 206 lbs, 10.75-inch hands

Experience

  • Adams – 36 games
  • Hooker – 19 games

Ball skills

  • Adams – 5 interceptions
  • Hooker – 7 interceptions

From a purely numerical standpoint, it’s easy to see why both young men are considered top draft choices. However, it’s Hooker who holds a slight edge thanks to advantages in two of the three categories listed. He is a bit taller with bigger hands than Adams and also has a much better nose for the football. Adams played almost double the amount of games Hooker did but still finished with fewer interceptions.

People can talk about Adams and his intangibles and leadership qualities all day long. That’s great. The problem is that doesn’t always make for great NFL players. There have been many outstanding leaders in this league that were relatively average-to-good performers on the field. They weren’t “special.” That is the buzzword that must come up regarding a top five pick. Is he special? Can he do things almost no other football player can?

What is special?

Hooker is the only one of the two who stands out like that. Put it this way. The difference between them is as follows. Adams is LeRoy Butler. Hooker is Ed Reed.

For those who aren’t the biggest football historians, Butler was a tremendous safety for the Green Bay Packers in the 1990s. A tough, physical and intelligent leader who went to four Pro Bowls in his career, known best for his play around the line of scrimmage. Adams is built in that exact same style and mentality.

Ed Reed? He may go down in history as the greatest pure free safety of the Super Bowl era. A true ball hawk who snagged a ridiculous 72 interceptions in his career for the Baltimore Ravens. His mixture of size and range made him a feared presence on the field. It didn’t matter if he was hurt, he’d still make things happen. Hooker showed he was that kind of player at Ohio State, even after just one season.

That may be an unfair comparison but it’s reality nonetheless. Hooker is a unique and ultra-rare talent at the safety position. He represents a level of skill the Bears haven’t had there in a decade, maybe ever. We know he’ll take the football away. We know he’ll play through pain and know he can produce in big games. The fact he’s this good having started the game just four years ago and is only 21-years old?

The possibilities could be limitless, both for him and the Bears defense if Ryan Pace were to pull the trigger.

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