Who Cowboys Met At Combine - And The Safety They Might Like Best Of All

Who The Cowboys Met At The Combine - And The Safety They Might Like Best Of All

Various media outlets have worked to assemble a list of players the Dallas Cowboys met with at last week's NFL Scouting Combine. They range from guys who look like high-first-rounders to guys who seem likely to be available at 28 to guys who will be available later. Some names:

TE O.J. Howard - Alabama

S Justin Evans - Texas A&M

WR K.D. Cannon - Baylor

DE Takkarist McKinley - UCLA

DT Dalvin Tomlinson - Alabama

WR DeDe Westbrook - Oklahoma

QB Brad Kaaya - Miami

RB Donnel Pumphrey - San Diego State

WR Greg Ward - Houston

UTEP RB Aaron Jones  - UTEP

DE T.J. Watt - Wisconsin

WR Mike Williams - Clemson

DE Demarcus Walker - Florida State

TE David Njoku - Miami

TE Jake Butt - Michigan

But here's a name that didn't surface much in Indy: Malik Hooker.


He didn't participate in drills at the combine with the rest of the secondary guys as he had surgery Jan. 16 to repair a torn labrum in his hip and a sports hernia. But he did play through those injuries against Clemson in the College Football Playoffs, toughing it out while knowing that his draft stock may have been at-risk.

Ah, but no worries.

There is talk of Hooker going as high at No. 2, to the Niners. And inside Dallas Cowboys HQ? There is some salivating over Hooker as a "certain top-10 talent'' who "does everything you want at safety. ... He's everything.''

The Ohio State product, given this scouting report from Dallas, needs to go on that list of "guys you'd move up for.'' That's not a prediction of a Cowboys move, but rather, something to tuck away in the filing cabinet for when move-up gossip and speculation occurs and traditional wisdom insists that it's because Dallas covets a pass-rusher and a wide receiver.

Owner Jerry Jones hinted at those two needs on the bus in Indy. But he skipped safety, and in doing so, inadvertently conflicted with the views of his personnel department, who also view safety as a position of need -- especially with Barry Church and JJ Wilcox hitting free agency.

Hooker is drawing comps to Ed Reed, and obviously, that's hyperbolic. (We think.) But he's a centerfielder, a hitter, a tough guy and a smart guy. He has just one season as a Buckeyes starter but in that season Hooker had seven interceptions with three returned for TDs.


The Cowboys have interviewed a lot of players and as the NFL Draft approaches they will interview a lot more. But when you're watching the War-Room Cam on Draft Night and you see a grimace on the face of a Cowboys staffer when Malik Hooker goes very, very high ... now you'll know why.

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