In May 2013, Sean Hooey was in Miami "high as a kite." That's not an usual state of mind in South Beach, but the former Cincinnati Bearcat was actually talking about a recent endorsement from Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin. An undrafted rookie free agent, Hooey was hoping to turn his spring tryout into a bone fide NFL contract.
A week later he was working to do the same thing in St. Louis. And he did. It worked out well, and now, he's working as the team's starting left tackle (part of a rotation) while Jake Long recovers from a torn ACL. So let's get to know a little more about Sean Hooey.
He's a Ram
The Rams brought him back for training camp last year, waived him in a round of roster cuts on Aug. 31 and signed him to the practice squad the next day. After the season, the Rams signed him to a reserve/futures contract.
A reserve/futures contract is just like any other. The main difference is that it doesn't count against the cap until the start of the league year (March 11 this year) and no team can sign that player away during that stretch. Only players not on the active roster are eligible for a futures contract. It's essentially a way for a team to hang onto a player they think can improve and be a contributor going forward ... like Hooey.
Hooey's futures contract is a two-year deal worth $930,000 ($420k this year, $510k next year).
He's tall ... really tall
At 6'8, 302 pounds, Hooey is the tallest player on the Rams 90-man roster. Period. Mitchell Van Dyk, one of this year's seventh-round picks, is close. Both are listed at 6'9 in some places. The next tallest player on the roster is Jake Long at 6'7, which, hey, that's the guy that Hooey is replacing right now.
Also, this ...
Trees on sidewalks should be trimmed at least a foot higher. One less thing I'd have to duck for. #TallPeopleProblems— Sean Hooey (@SeanHooey) June 5, 2014
Tall people problems https://t.co/zC42UorLYI— Sean Hooey (@SeanHooey) May 7, 2013
How's the weather up there? Just kidding.
He's dealt with some injuries
A calf injury kept Hooey from doing much in training camp last year. But there's a silver lining here. The Rams thought enough of what they had seen from Hooey to sign him to the practice squad in September even though he couldn't practice.
Injuries plagued his college career too. He missed games during his last year at Cincinnati, the year before that too. So what exactly did the Rams see in Hooey?
He's a former tight end
He also happens to be big (we established that), has long arms and is fairly athletic. Had injuries not derailed so much of his college career, he probably would have been drafted. In the video below, you can see that Hooey moves well and isn't prone to making mistakes with his hands. I like that he also shows some patience in waiting for his man, not rushing out to find someone to block and missing another defender.
Rams scouts no doubt encountered Hooey while scouting Isaiah Pead in 2012.
Here's his highlight reel (excellent music choice too).
He doesn't have a lot of experience, which we know because of the injuries. In college, he spent most of his time on the right side. A year on the practice squad saved some wear and tear, but ankle and foot problems over a long period of time tend to be the kind of ongoing concerns that can prevent a player from taking that next step.
He's here to stay?
That's hard to say. But he's definitely getting the chance of a lifetime with Long on the mend. Even without pads or actual blocking in OTAs, taking regular reps on the left side will only help his chances of sticking around again this year. He might get his chance when players put the pads on for training camp. Jake Long is expected to be ready for Week 1, but he isn't expected to be ready to go when camp starts.
Roger Saffold wold probably be the starting left tackle if Long can't go in Week 1. However, because Fisher wants to keep his other starting linemen in their primary roles, Hooey could still find himself working on Sam Bradford's blind side in August.
If the Rams can turn Hooey into a solid backup while developing his starting potential, they'll have some depth at a really important position, a position where they haven't had much depth for a long time. Hooey's definitely a guy to watch this summer.
He gave his hair to charity
He's got Navy SEAL potential
Jorgen Hus (@Jhus41) June 8, 2014
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Here's Hooey's pro day.