4 second wave free agents that the Panthers should target
By Dean Jones
Malik Hooker – S
While the recent additions on defense leave the Carolina Panthers with the distinct possibility of moving stud rookie Jeremy Chinn back to his preferred position of safety. But the inconsistent play of Juston Burris might mean that more is needed to get Matt Rhule’s men into postseason contention.
This is a pretty deep class for young safeties, which would be the cheapest route to go down. However, rookies in the secondary come with their own set of complications when adjusting to the next level, and taking a chance on a player like Malik Hooker is an option worth discussing.
Hooker has had his troubles staying healthy – playing just two games last season – but few would argue the former No. 15 overall selection isn’t a substantial upgrade on Burris when firing on all cylinders.
The Ohio State product is an assured presence in coverage and has no trouble coming down to the second level assisting on running downs. Hooker rose to potential stardom in 2018 and played well the following season before injury took its toll, leaving his future with the Indianapolis Colts in serious doubt.
A safety tandem of Chinn and Hooker is a mouth-watering prospect and the player might be willing to accept a lesser deal in the hope things turn around after missing so much of the previous campaign.