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Mel Kiper NFL Mock Draft 2.0: Chargers Improve Secondary With Malik Hooker

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Will the Chargers ignore the trenches to take a safety with their first pick?

NCAA Football: Fiesta Bowl-Ohio State vs Clemson Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Noted ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. released version 2.0 of his 2017 NFL Mock Draft. After originally having the Chargers taking offensive lineman Cam Robinson in his inaugural mock draft of 2017, Kiper now has Philadelphia selecting another big position of need: wide receiver. Here’s the pick at #7 overall, via ESPN insider.

Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State - The Chargers will be getting back the ballhawk who left town when Eric Weddle went to the Ravens last year. One thing that makes Hooker particularly interesting here is that the Chargers already have one of the great pass-rushers in the NFL in Hooker's former teammate Joey Bosa. Hooker is the type of player who can help a great pass rush produce points going the other way on errant throws.”

Hooker is athletic and has great range which will be necessary traits in a Chargers safety under Gus Bradley, but there are concerns as well.

Kyle Posey touched on some of those concerns for us previously:

On the season, Hooker was credited with 19 missed tackles. Some say that’s due to his 1st year of experience. I don’t know if I can get behind that on the strength of it being consistent in every game. Can this issue be improved on? Absolutely. Hooker can become more confident in what he sees and with more reps it’s fair to assume he’ll figure out “his way” to tackle. That said, it’s hard to shake bad habits you form early on as a player. Leaving your feet specifically. Hooker will become better in the run game if he learns to fill running lanes more under control but I don’t think it’ll ever be one of his strengths.

I don’t hate the selection of Hooker, but I would be disappointed if the Chargers didn’t take the opportunity to improve their front seven with their first pick. I’m not even convinced that Hooker is the best safety on the board let alone the best player likely to be available at #7 overall.

You can watch tape of Hooker for yourself at NFL Draft Breakdown.

What do you think of the pick? Here is who Kiper had going ahead of him.

1 - Cleveland Browns - DE Myles Garrett

2 - San Francisco 49ers - QB Mitch Trubisky

3 - Chicago Bears - DL Jonathan Allen

4 - Jacksonville Jaguars - S Jamal Adams

5 - Tennessee Titans - CB Marshon Lattimore

6 - New York Jets - RB Leonard Fournette