Draft Daily: How two of the draft’s top prospects fit their mock slot

Malik Hooker and Carl Lawson have been fairly set in Senior Analyst Steve Palazzolo's mocks. Here's what Draft Pass has to say on the two big names.

| 1 month ago
Malik Hooker

(Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

Draft Daily: How two of the draft’s top prospects fit their mock slot

The PFF Draft Daily will hit on a number of NFL Draft-related topics including recent news, scouting reports, PFF draft takes, and much more on a daily basis.

What Draft Pass says about Steve Palazzolo’s favorite mock draft fits

Steve Palazzolo’s final mock draft came out Monday. The big news was that he has three quarterbacks going inside the top 12 selections, with Texas Tech’s Patrick Mahomes completing the trio and being selected by the Cleveland Browns. It was Steve’s seventh mock draft of the season, and despite people routinely telling him that each one has been the “worst mock ever” — love the consistency there, Steve — one of the things I’ve found most interesting is how much he has been locked in on two prospects in particular as near perfect fits for two teams in this draft.

The first of those is Ohio State safety Malik Hooker, who Steve has routinely had going at pick No. 7 to the Los Angeles Chargers. The fit is obvious: Hooker is that true center-fielder-style safety with the range and ball skills to change games in an instant, with a skillset that has seen him compared to former Baltimore Ravens great Ed Reed and Seattle Seahawks star Earl Thomas. That’s high praise, but when you look at some of his interceptions on film, it’s not hard to see why. He’s the perfect fit because former Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley is the new defensive coordinator for the Chargers, a position he previously held in Seattle, where he coaches the aforementioned Thomas. So what can we learn about Hooker from PFF Draft Pass? Let’s take a look.

Hooker Draft Pass

Compared with the average safety in this draft class, the only area where Hooker is close to the average is in his run-defense grade. His coverage grade and playmaker index are keys to the type of player he can be. Though there are concerns about his tackling, with 13 missed tackles in 2016, his range in coverage is incredibly rare.

The second fit that we have seen Steve routinely make in his mock drafts is at pick No. 16, where Auburn edge defender Carl Lawson to the Baltimore Ravens has been a staple, at least in the last few iterations of the mock. Lawson’s fit is so perfect because even as how he projects, as a player who may be better suited to primarily a pass-rushing role as a rookie, he would slot in as a replacement to Elvis Dumervil perfectly.

Carl Lawson Draft Pass

Lawson has one of the more interesting production spider graphs of any edge defender in this class, but it really highlights how good he is as a pass-rusher in relation to this draft class. His pass-rush grade, advanced pass-rush productivity and total pressure percentage numbers are through the roof, so he looks like a solid bet to be a successful pass-rusher in his rookie year.

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| Analyst, Lead Special Teams Analyst

Gordon has worked at PFF since 2011, and now heads up the company’s special teams analysis processes. His work in-season focuses on college football, while he is also heavily involved in PFF’s NFL draft coverage.

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