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Around the AFC North: Malik Hooker to Steelers? OBJ looks great in recovery

The Steelers could very well land an upgrade for their secondary.

NFL: Indianapolis Colts at Seattle Seahawks Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

The Bengals and the rest of the NFL are settling in to their pre-training camp life. The teams that ran OTAs got a glimpse at what their teams could look like in 2021. It also is a good opportunity to make last minute moves prior to training camp. The AFC North had a couple notable stories in those ranges this week.

Malik Hooker considering Steelers

The former-Colts safety met with the Steelers a couple of weeks ago, but it appears that the two parties may still have a chance at linking as the safety mentioned on SiriusXM NFL Radio that he hopes to visit again with a few teams he thought highly of:

“For me, my next team, everyone knows the situation, I’m coming off the injury, most likely going to get offered a one year deal so it’s about me fitting into the perfect system. To be able to go out there and show my talents. There were a couple of teams I visited that I felt highly of but now it’s just the point of taking my time with it and training camp is next month not next week so I have time to still tune up things and still hopefully go on more visits and see what other teams are talking about.

When Hooker is healthy, he has been one of the better safeties in the NFL. Unfortunately for the 25-year-old safety, health has been a major concern. He has never played a full 16 game season, and he is coming off an Achilles injury that limited him to only two games in 2020.

Hooker was drafted 15th overall by the Colts in 2017 after an All-American season at Ohio State. It would make sense for Hooker to try to land in Pittsburgh with a pretty clear chance to compete with Terrell Edmunds at safety next to Minkah Fitzpatrick. The young Steeler safety has struggled to live up to his first round selection. At the very least for the Steelers, Hooker could push Edmunds into playing better.

It is more likely that Hooker attempt to land somewhere with the clearest path toward playing, but maybe Pittsburgh has setup a situation where Hooker can play rotationally in order to have a better chance at staying healthy for an entire season.

Odell Beckham Jr. impressing at OTAs

The Browns had one of the most impressive seasons in their franchise’s history (considering the one that won all the championships moved to Baltimore) in 2020. They had the Chiefs on the ropes after dominating the Steelers in the Wild Card round.

What makes their season even more impressive is they did most of it without Odell Beckham Jr. at wide receiver. He played in just seven games before going down with an injury. The former-Giant wasn’t having a great season prior to that. He only had 319 yards on 23 catches with three touchdowns, which unfortunately was about par for the course for Beckham these past few seasons. He has barely surpassed the 1,000 yard mark the two years prior to 2020, and he hasn’t had more than six touchdowns in a season since the 2016 season.

He has had respectable numbers, but Beckham was once considered one of the rising stars of the NFL. Since 2016, he really hasn’t looked like that guy. Jarvis Landry wants to assure fans that Beckham looks like he has recovered very well, and he make look even better than prior to his injury.

“Man, he looked amazing,” Landry said. “I can’t wait for you guys to see him. I can’t wait for him to get back out there. He’s in fantastic shape and he’s ready to go. He’s only what, 6½ months [beyond surgery], and he’s already doing some things that will blow your mind away.”

“He ran a post route, sticking off the same injured leg and exploding out of it, then going up, jumping off that same leg and making a catch, doing his thing — what he does with one hand,” Landry said. “You sit back and you’re like, ‘Wait. He’s even better than he was last year.’”

You can probably classify this as offseason hyperbole. The bigger thing to take away from this is that Beckham is healthy and doing all the things a fully recovered player should be doing. The question may be is whether Beckham can fit in and buy in to an offense that relies heavily on the run like it did last season. There is no reason to expect Cleveland to drastically change what they did, but can the All-Pro receiver hang his ego up long enough to be there when the Browns need him most.