Iowa football: Amani Hooker could see starter minutes in 2019

Despite being a fourth-round draft pick, former Iowa football player Amani Hooker is in line to see starter minutes for the Titans in 2019.

Often times, day three picks are expected to be key special teams players and possibly contribute in a backup role for their respective teams. Former Iowa football player Amani Hooker, however, isn’t a normal day three pick.

Hooker left the University of Iowa as a true junior after winning the Tatum-Woodson Big Ten Defensive Back of the Year Award, being named First Team All-Big Ten, and after receiving second-team All-American honors.

Widely projected to go on day two, he fell to day three for reasons unknown to me. I’ve heard draft analysts speculate that teams didn’t expect him to enter the 2019 NFL Draft so they didn’t get enough time to evaluate him, but that honestly seems a bit ridiculous to me. Either way, when he fell to day three, head coach Mike Vrabel and the Tennessee Titans swooped in to grab the Minneapolis, Minnesota native.

And just like how Desmond King played a key role on the Chargers in his rookie year after being a day three draft pick, Amani Hooker could be in line to do the exact same.

Currently, the Titans already have their two starting safeties. Kevin Byard is one of the best safeties in the league (and just signed a monster extension) and Kenny Vaccarro just signed a 4-year deal worth $24 million so those two aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.

But as we saw last season with the Iowa football team, Amani Hooker is not a traditional safety. Sure, he can play a strong safety role if needed, but he can also be effective as a dime backer or in the slot, and it sounds like the Tennessee Titans are planning to do both.

It’s early in training camp, and we are likely to find out more as the preseason progresses, but Hooker has been taking snaps with the 1’s in Titans training camp already.

Right now, it’s just with a three-safety look, but given what Amani Hooker showed from the slot last year for the Iowa football team, I think it’s only a matter of days before Hooker is getting his shot in the slot as well.

This would allow the Titans to keep Malcolm Butler and Logan Ryan on the outside. It would require Hooker to outplay 2017 first-round draft pick, Adoree Jackson, though but I’ve learned to never doubt the ability of an Iowa football defensive back.

Next: Nebraska rivalry good for college football

Again, there is a lot of preseason left, but Hooker is already beginning to show signs that he could be in for a big season in his rookie season.

 

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