Buckeyes Marshon Lattimore, Malik Hooker face injury questions

INDIANAPOLIS -- Two of the best defensive back prospects in this year's NFL draft played in the same secondary at Ohio State, and both carried to the scouting combine some injury questions that their new employers will have to answer before they are selected.

Marshon Lattimore, who is one of the most highly rated cornerbacks on the draft board, and Malik Hooker, who is one of the most highly rated safeties, have both gone through the question festival that is the combine as they try to get teams to believe what they've seen on game video.

"I'm a special player, capable of doing a lot of things," Hooker said Sunday. " ... The film says what it says."

If all goes well for the two, they could be the first players selected in April's draft at their respective positions. Lattimore will take part in the defensive backs' on-field workouts Monday at Lucas Oil Stadium, but Hooker will not.

Lattimore spent almost two seasons at Ohio State dealing with hamstring injuries before his breakout 2016 season. Hooker, who was also essentially a one-year starter for the Buckeyes, had surgery Jan. 16 to repair a torn labrum in his left hip and repair sports hernias on "both sides."

Hooker has taken part in the team interviews and medical checks only at the combine. He said he also tried to limit just how much the teams' medical staffs examined his legs during the battery of tests.

"My medical checks are going real well," Hooker said. " ... I'm looking forward to coming back for rookie camp ... I was told not to let anybody pull or tug at my leg just because the surgery was recent -- six weeks out and a few days -- they more so looking at my upper body."

Hooker said he suffered the injury in the Buckeyes' Nov. 26 game against Michigan and played the remainder of the season, including the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl loss against Clemson. He had seven interceptions this past season and returned three of them for touchdowns.

"I didn't really notice it until after the [Michigan] game," Hooker said. "After the game, I couldn't really walk. I was limping. I practiced that week, [but] I was not able to run as well. I played through it, [and] I played the Clemson game as well."

Lattimore missed the 2014 season and more than half the 2015 season with hamstring troubles. He said he tore the left hamstring in '14 and injured the right hamstring in '15. He said that in meeting with teams at the combine, those injuries were the biggest topics of conversation with personnel evaluators, even before they covered on-field matters.

"That's the first thing they asked me: How are my hamstrings," Lattimore said. "[I] tell them about my hamstring situation, but I'm 100 percent fine right now."

Lattimore said he added yoga to his preseason regimen this past year and believed it helped him get through the 2016 season.

"It's not luck at all. I did yoga. I did extra stretching exercises and all that," Lattimore said. "It's no luck ... I knew [the injuries were] going to come up, so I'm not annoyed, I'm just enjoying the process right now. That was a key part of it I feel like."

Lattimore said he was sent for additional MRI exams after he arrived to the combine. Both players are rated as top-10 prospects by some teams, if the medical staffs sign off on them before draft weekend.