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Todd McShay still has Chargers taking Malik Hooker at No. 7

McShay says Malik Hooker would be an ideal fit for defensive coordinator Gus Bradley’s Cover 3 scheme. Trevor Ruszkowski/USA TODAY Sports

SAN DIEGO -- In this ESPN Insider piece, draft analyst Todd McShay has the Los Angeles Chargers selecting Ohio State safety Malik Hooker in his latest mock draft, the same player he had the team taking in his mock draft 2.0.

McShay says that Hooker would be an ideal fit for defensive coordinator Gus Bradley’s Cover 3 scheme because of his ability to execute as a center-field free safety, similar to Earl Thomas with the Seattle Seahawks.

Hooker was very productive in his only season as a starter for the Buckeyes, finishing with seven interceptions.

“Hooker obviously has the best ball skills in the class and is a big-time playmaker,” McShay told reporters during a conference call this week.

However, his health issues could be a concern for the Chargers. Hooker did not participate in any drills at the NFL scouting combine last month because he’s still recovering from surgery in January to repair a torn labrum in his left hip and sports hernia surgery.

So Hooker’s medical evaluation from the combine will be critical, although he told reporters at the combine that he expects to be healthy enough to go through drills at rookie minicamp after the draft in May. Hooker did not miss any games due to the injuries last season for Ohio State.

Hooker measured in at 6-foot-1 and 206 pounds, so he has the size NFL teams like to see at the safety position.

The Chargers finished with the most players on injured reserve last season with 21, and head coach Anthony Lynn has said he would shy away from players with a lengthy injury history.

So the Chargers must assess how much of an injury risk Hooker would be in the NFL. Ohio State will hold its pro day on March 23, but Hooker likely will not participate in any on-field activities on that day since he’s still recovering from surgery.

“If there’s a guy with durability issues, you might want to take a look at why he wasn’t on the field,” Lynn said. “Maybe where he was at, they didn’t have the right resources to keep him on the field.

“But if you’re a player that's constantly hurt, you’re not going to be a very attractive player to me. You’re availability is your biggest talent. It’s hard to game plan when guys are constantly in and out of the lineup. You get no continuity on offense, defense or special teams.”