Round 3, Pick 81: Amani Hooker, S, Iowa
The toughest pill to swallow in regards to the OBJ trade for the Browns wasn’t the picks given up, but instead the fact that Jabrill Peppers was shipped to New York. That doesn’t mean the deal wasn’t a good one, but it just means the team needs to add more depth to the safety position after losing someone they spent the past two seasons developing.
Peppers had grown into a solid starter and replacing him won’t be easy. They do have options though as Derrick Kindred is a good player but has had some unfortunate luck with injuries. They could look to add a free agent as well, but if Kindred is the Week 1 starter, they’re still going to be perfectly fine.
That doesn’t mean they shouldn’t add someone with the potential to push him, which is what they get with Amani Hooker from Iowa. With a nearly identical build to Kindred, Hooker is built for the NFL. He’s also coming off his best season with four interceptions in his junior campaign. Hooker was impressive in the Combine as well and showed great speed with his 4.48 time in the 40-yard dash.
He may not be able to start right away for the Browns, but he would be a solid special teams player and it would just be a matter of time before he found himself in the base defense alongside Damarious Randall.