In April, Malik Hooker‘s recovery timeline was not certain to allow for training camp participation. Now, the Colts might have to enter the season without their second-year safety. Hooker is not a lock to be ready to start the season, Stephen Holder of the Indianapolis Star writes. The Ohio State alum is recovering from suffering a torn ACL and MCL, a sequence that ended his rookie campaign in late October. The Colts drafted Hooker in the 2017 first round despite injury concerns unrelated to the more severe maladies he sustained last season, and provided he can stay healthy, he’s certainly viewed as a long-term secondary cog in Indianapolis. The Colts are in slightly better shape at safety, though, than they were going into last season. Former UDFA Matthias Farley enjoyed a quality season after ascending to the starting lineup. T.J. Green and Clayton Geathers represent the top depth pieces. Green played 382 snaps last season, seeing more time after Hooker’s injury.
Here’s the latest from the AFC:
- While Mason Rudolph is the player viewed as a possible Ben Roethlisberger successor at some point down the line, Landry Jones is the player the Steelers prefer as the short-term backup, Joe Rutter of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review notes. Jones has started five games for the Steelers the past three seasons, going 3-2 (with two of those wins coming against the Browns), but he’s entering the final year of his contract. Rutter adds that Rudolph showed promise in offseason workouts, despite having scant experience in non-shotgun sets, perhaps indicating he can push Jones. However, Joshua Dobbs‘ only avenue to stay with the Steelers seems to be an injury to one of the aforementioned passers or a practice squad slot. With quarterback depth not exactly booming across the league, Dobbs making it through waivers and onto the taxi squad may be a long shot. So, the Tennessee product may be preparing for his second and final Steelers camp.
- The Patriots opting not to pick up Malcom Brown‘s fifth-year option may mean the defensive tackle is readying for his final Pats camp. Now that Danny Shelton‘s in the picture, NBC Sports Boston’s Tom Curran envisions and either/or scenario with one of the contract-year players being on the 2019 team. Curran doesn’t see Brown enticing the Patriots to pay him what he’ll command if he doesn’t show more consistency, but the 37-game starter who has two Super Bowl starts would subsequently be an intriguing name on the 2019 market.
- With Ryan Tannehill entering a crucial year regarding his future in Miami, the Dolphins may need to be doing some advanced scouting. The 2019 quarterback class is not viewed as spectacular by any means, but Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald writes Drew Lock and Justin Herbert figure to be on the Dolphins’ radar if Tannehill falters or fails to stay healthy this season. ESPN.com’s Todd McShay has the Missouri and Oregon signal-callers as his Nos. 1-2 QBs for next year’s draft but places neither in his top-15 prospects, which is consistent with what we’ve heard thus far about the prospective ’19 crop.