Former Ohio State safety Malik Hooker will most likely be drafted in the first round, and whoever drafts him will get one of the toughest players in the draft.
Hooker isn’t participating in the NFL Combine due to surgeries he had on Jan. 31 to repair a torn labrum and sports hernia, and Hooker said he played with both injuries during the Buckeyes’ playoff game against Clemson.
In a draft diary for NFL.com, Hooker said he sustained the injuries during Ohio State’s win over Michigan.
“The labrum tear, it felt like a groin injury, like something was connected to my groin that just wasn’t allowing me to do anything but walk,” Hooker said. “And even when I walked it just felt like someone was punching me in the groin constantly. And the labrum tear, it just felt like my skin was tearing when I stood up. It was constant pain and stuff like that.”
Despite the injuries, Hooker still recorded seven tackles and an interception in Ohio State’s loss to Clemson. CBS Sports has Hooker as the No. 4 overall player in the 2017 Draft.
He will still participate in the off-field interviews and evaluations at the combine, and he expects to be ready for rookie camp.
“For me to be where I’m at in the process, the process is going well,” he said. “A lot faster than what a lot of people think.”