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Mike Mayock’s final mock draft has Malik Hooker dropping a long way

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The Bucs should be ecstatic if this happens.

Michigan v Ohio State Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers would be delighted if Mike Mayock’s final 2017 NFL mock draft were to come true. The NFL Network analyst held a live mock draft last night, which had one very surprising result: Ohio State safety Malik Hooker fell all the way to the Bucs’ number 19 pick.

Hooker is the best centerfielder in the draft. They need a dynamic guy on the back end. Hooker is that guy.

There have been some reports that the Bucs are looking to trade down, or at least talking about the possibility of trading down with other teams. If Hooker falls, we can be pretty certain that they won’t: he’s a terrific fit for their needs at safety, an outstanding athlete who can play all over the defensive backfield and who produces turnover after turnover.

Hooker could fall, though, and for one reason: he has only one year of starting college football experience playing safety, and is still very raw. That will probably lead to an adjustment period in the NFL, and he may look bad as a rookie. There’s always a risk that he doesn’t adjust at all and simply busts.

If Hooker does develop—and he has all the tools to do so—he could be one of the best safeties in the NFL in his third year. And those players are so difficult to find, that the Bucs should immediately pick Hooker if he falls that far.