Titans Select Iowa Defensive Back Amani Hooker in Fourth Round, and Plan to Utilize his Versatility

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NASHVILLE – The Titans selected Iowa defensive back Amani Hooker in the fourth round of the NFL Draft, and he’s ready to get to work.

“(The Titans) are getting a playmaker, a baller, a student of the game and a guy you don’t have to worry about off the field,” Hooker said after being picked. “I am going to come into work every day, no complaining. It’s a business now and I am ready to take it on and win some championships and some Super Bowls.”

Hooker (6-0, 200), who played at safety and nickel for the Hawkeyes, was taken with the 116th overall pick after the team traded up to get him. The Titans traded picks 121 and 157 to the Jets for picks 116 and 168.

Hooker was named Tatum-Woodson Defensive Back of the Year in the Big Ten, and he was a second-team All-America by the Associated Press and USA Today.

Hooker shared the team lead in interceptions (4) and pass break-ups (7) while ranking second in tackles (65) in 2018. In 2017, Hooker recorded 56 tackles and also had two interceptions and one touchdown return, along with two pass break-ups.

“He’s a versatile defensive back who has played nickel, he’s played off the hash, he’s played down in the box, he’s played in the kicking game,” Titans General Manager Jon Robinson said. “He was set to return punts for them this year, so we’ll put him back there and see what that’s like.”

Titans coach Mike Vrabel said he envisions starting Hooker out at safety “and watch him develop.”

“He was very versatile for Iowa,” Vrabel said. “He played a lot of different places. This is a guy who can probably do a lot, but we don’t want to give him more that he can handle. We’re just excited to get him working.”

Hooker made a pre-draft visit to the Titans, and spent time with defensive backs coach Kerry Coombs, among others. He said he’s looking forward to working alongside safety Kevin Byard and the rest of the Titans, and is willing to play wherever the team needs him.

“Kevin Byard is a dog. Two years ago he led the league in interceptions, and every time I turned on ESPN, there he is making a play,” Hooker said. “They are a great defense. They run a similar defense that we ran at Iowa, so it shouldn’t be too tough of a transition for me to understand what is going on.”

Hooker said he enjoyed his time in Nashville during his visit, and likes the vibe in the city and around the team.

“It’s a great franchise, a class-act franchise,” Hooker said. “Top-notch coaches and top-notch competition as well. I know we are going to win some games this year, and I am very excited. The coaching staff is trying to build a culture around there, and hopefully I’m a guy who can come in and help that out.”

The Tennessee Titans select Iowa defensive back Amani Hooker in the fourth round (116th overall) of the 2019 NFL Draft. (Photos: AP, Iowa)

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