PDA

View Full Version : Crying uncle on the draft



fordfixer
04-28-2009, 12:21 AM
Published: April 28, 2009 12:18 am

JIM WEXELL | Crying uncle on the draft
BY JIM WEXELL
For The Tribune-Democrat

http://www.tribune-democrat.com/prospor ... d=topstory (http://www.tribune-democrat.com/prosports/local_story_118001821.html?keyword=topstory)

PITTSBURGH — You can’t help but take these draft prospects on as one of your own sometimes.

If you follow this stuff as seriously as I do, you’re bound to become a proud papa. Scouts do it all the time.

And the earlier you take these prospects on, the less fanfare those prospects have at the time, and the more criticism you take when you’re the only one who agrees with yourself about this prospect, the prouder the papa.

That was my son the Bills drafted. Yes, Tom Modrak stabbed me in the heart by picking center-guard Eric Wood four spots before the Steelers’ turn.

Liked him the first time I saw him. The Steelers had Wood ranked No. 12. They had Max Unger No. 15. Where they had eventual pick Ziggy Hood has not yet been learned by the media. He was at worst No. 14.

And that shocked me. I’d watched him play and was unimpressed. Until I sat down with Ziggy’s proud papa, Steelers D-line coach John Mitchell.

“He is the guy that I wanted from Day 1,” Mitchell said.

I’m quite partial to Mitchell’s advisements, but I’d seen the legendary Hood spin move. Maybe it’s not quite legendary, but I saw it – on tape and live at the Senior Bowl – and it made him stand out there. Very un-Steeler like.

“You won’t see that again,” beamed Mitch.

Just never figured him for a Steeler, though. Figured he’d be better off with the Colts, who just get after the quarterback. Go ahead and use that spin move with Willie Parker sprinting up the middle with a draw.

Yet, it appears I was wrong about Hood. Mitchell told me before the draft that he could coach him into a Steelers-style 3-4 end. What that basically means is that Hood will not only hold the point, he’ll keep his mouth shut about James Harrison getting all the sacks.

Hood’s strong. He benched a lot of weight a lot of times. And he can run. You can see that on tape. It’s just that, for all his weight room strength, Hood doesn’t appear too stout against the run. He just seemed – in the three TV games I saw – like a gap-shooting inside rusher in an untamed football conference. That’s what the combination of my eyes and my brain told me. And, really, since he’s not 6-5, he’s not Steelers-size, either.

“I wouldn’t necessarily agree with that,” said Mike Tomlin. “This is a 6-3, 300-pound man. Not many of those body types. He was one of the few. We’re very comfortable with his capability to play the five-technique in a 3-4 defense.”

It’s obvious that Tomlin likes Hood, and so it’s easy for me to get behind this. Tomlin has earned his stripes.

Kevin Colbert likes him, too. “He’s a special guy; he really is,” the normally non-excitable personnel director said. “He was just somebody we felt good about from the first time we scouted him.”

That’s the second guy to tell me that in one day, so I’m becoming a bit excited about what these pro coaches can do with a quick, flashy, and strong defensive lineman who might just be in need of some good coaching. These guys rave about Hood’s character and leadership, too.

“Described by many members of his team as ‘their guy,’ ” Tomlin said. “Captain. Leader. Good football player. He’ll fit in very quickly from a personality standpoint.”

So Hood it is. And, really, who else was there after the Bills took my son? I never really liked Max Unger; just the position he played. So, yes, it’s easy for me to be swayed.

I’m just a pretend scout who lost a pretend son anyway. I can still be a great pretend uncle.



Jim Wexell is a free-lance writer who covers the Steelers for The Tribune-Democrat.

Northern_Blitz
04-28-2009, 09:54 AM
Yet, it appears I was wrong about Hood. Mitchell told me before the draft that he could coach him into a Steelers-style 3-4 end. What that basically means is that Hood will not only hold the point, he’ll keep his mouth shut about James Harrison getting all the sacks.


I think that this is an important point. DL in our system need to be humble guys that don't mind doing the work without getting the glory. Hopefully Hood is one of those guys.

RuthlessBurgher
04-28-2009, 09:57 AM
Yet, it appears I was wrong about Hood. Mitchell told me before the draft that he could coach him into a Steelers-style 3-4 end. What that basically means is that Hood will not only hold the point, he’ll keep his mouth shut about James Harrison getting all the sacks.


I think that this is an important point. DL in our system need to be humble guys that don't mind doing the work without getting the glory. Hopefully Hood is one of those guys.

Everything I've read about him so far makes him seem like an ultimate team guy and leader.

Oviedo
04-28-2009, 10:02 AM
Everything we have seen, read or heard about Hood thus far indicates he is a team first guy. I think coming into a team with the caliber of players we have will keep him very humble. He seems like a hard worker which for a rookie is all you can ask for. Work hard and learn because it is likely you will have a "LeBeau redshirt" season for 2009.

RuthlessBurgher
04-28-2009, 10:34 AM
Everything we have seen, read or heard about Hood thus far indicates he is a team first guy. I think coming into a team with the caliber of players we have will keep him very humble. He seems like a hard worker which for a rookie is all you can ask for. Work hard and learn because it is likely you will have a "LeBeau redshirt" season for 2009.

Agreed. Even though he is talented, I don't understand these people that think that Hood will be starting over Keisel before the season ends. LeBeau's 3-4 scheme is so different than anything he did in college, that he will not contribute hardly at all while he is adjusting to the DE position. And, of course, many folks will inevitably call him a bust. Others will realize that his first true contributions will likely be in 2010 (just like the first true contributions of Mendenhall and Sweed should come in this, their second seasons).