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The ‘Other’ Rookie Minicamp Veteran: Lavon Hooks

I know rookie minicamp is already in the books and the Pittsburgh Steelers are about to kick off OTAs tomorrow, where all players on the 90 man roster come together for the first time of 2018.

But with all the talk about Marcus Tucker during minicamp, praised for being a veteran among a group of rookies, I wanted to touch on another player in a similar spot: defensive linemen Lavon Hooks.

Even in his third rookie minicamp, Tucker, believe it or not, wasn’t the most experienced player at rookie minicamp. That honor goes to Hooks, who at 26 years old, finished up his¬†fourth¬†three-day weekend. It was his third as a Steeler and he had one his very first year in the league with the Green Bay Packers in 2015.

For pretty much all of his time as a Steeler, Hooks is a name that’s barely been on the radar. But like Tucker has at the end of the receiver depth chart, there’s an opening at the end of the defensive line group too. Several options for that 6th DL spot, Daniel McCullers, Joshua Frazier, Greg Gilmore, but no one has it locked up. Hooks, like everyone else, will be given a fair shake.

He actually seemed to make a late preseason push in 2017. We wrote about it at the time, leaping over Johnny Maxey and running with the second-team for the final two weeks of the preseason. The team signed him to the practice squad, where he spent all of last season.

While I don’t see anything unique about his game, he does have versatility, seeing time at all three spots along the d-line throughout his time in Pittsburgh. Ideally, he’s a defensive end and that’s where he spent most of his time but there’s a little L.T. Walton in his game.

Like any of the others he’s battling, Hooks is going to need to have a great camp to stick on the 53. He’s not only fighting the names we just mentioned but the entire waiver wire, where the team could look to if they aren’t happy with the group they have. But like Tucker, a name to keep in mind, and a guy that’s easy to root for.

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