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Evander 'Ziggy' Hood From A Missouri Fan's Perspective

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One of the things I did yesterday after the completion of the draft was to set about learning a bit more about some of the players the Pittsburgh Steelers selected from those that were observing them and writing about them during their college careers. That's where Rock M Nation came in handy. RMN is SB Nation's fine Missouri Tigers blog , and Ross (rptgwb) from the site was kind enough to answer just a few brief questions I had about him as a starting point to hopefully get to know Hood a bit better before training camp convenes later this summer. Many thanks to him and if you're so inclined, go dig through the archives at their fine digs for some more Hood commentary from the past. It's always well done. - Blitz-

BTSC 2009 NFL Draft Coverage:

The Class
The Pittsburgh Steelers 2009 NFL Draft Class Analysis
AFC North Draft Grades
1st Round Selection - Evander 'Ziggy'Hood, DL, Missouri / Press Conference
3rd Round Selection - Kraig Urbik, OG, Wisconsin / Press Conference
3rd Round Selection - Mike Wallace, WR/KR, Ole Miss / Press Conference
3rd Round Selection - Keenan Lewis, DB, Oregon State / Press Conference
5th Round Selection - Joe Burnett, CB/KR, Central Florida / Press Conference
5th Round Selection - Frank Summer, FB, UNLV / Press Conference
6th Round Selection - Ra'Shon Harris, DL, Oregon / Press Conference
7th Round Selection - A.Q. Shipley, C, Penn State
7th Round Selection - David Johnson, TE, Arkansas State
UDFA Signings Tracker
Mike Tomlin Talks To NFLN After the Draft

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BTSC: I know that y'all do a great job with your super local and 'on the ground' coverage of Mizzou athletics. Thought there might be an anecdote or two amongst your community members about him as a person or classmate.

 

RMN: I wish I had some personal anecdote just ready to go, but most of what we know is a reflection of what we've seen on Saturdays and what we've been told by Dave Matter (Columbia Tribune) and Gabe DeArmond (PowerMizzou.com), two fantastic beat reporters who can't speak highly enough about the type of guy Ziggy is. He's the soft spoken guy from Amarillo, Texas with strong family ties who still takes time to go speak to the players at his old high school. An Amarillo paper did a story on just how much it meant to him and to his community to be an organization's first pick. And I hate to bring this question back around to football, but Mizzou D-Line coach Craig Kuligowski once had a great quote about Ziggy following the 2007 season:

"Ziggy's motor on the field never stops," Kuligowski said. "He not only listens and is coachable, he learns quickly and nobody works harder. He is the first to arrive and the last to leave. The story I like to tell about Ziggy is when we run sprints, he runs with our receivers and running backs. None of our other lineman are athletic enough to dare do that."

 

BTSC: On a team with guys like Chase Daniel, Jeremy Maclin, Chase Coffman and other stand out players this past two years, can you comment on what kind of leader Hood was amongst those great players, and what kind of leader he was - vocal? workmanlike yet quiet?

RMN: I probably answered this question in my previous answer. Over the past few seasons, Missouri hasn't exactly been hurting for vocal leadership. You weren't going to find a practice in which Chase Daniel, Martin Rucker, and Sean Weatherspoon fell silent. Hell, Ziggy's DT companion in 2007 -- Lorenzo Williams -- once punched a hole in a hotel wall by accident trying to fire the team up in a pregame speech. Needless to say, Ziggy was never the "hole puncher" type.


BTSC: To close, I'm curious what you might think about:

  • his strength
  • his ability to play some NT somewhere down the line
  • his durability in terms of injury and in terms of how he may or may not have worn down late in games or seasons he was physically out there playing

RMN:  A - Just off of career impressions at Missouri, I never really considered strength a suit of Ziggy's. But as time went on, we began to hear more and more about the guy's determination in the weight room. That improvement came apparent in Mizzou's Pro Day, when Ziggy put up a personal best 36 reps in front of NFL talent evaluators, much to the delight of Hood and WR Tommy Saunders (skip to 2:04 into this video. Ziggy will never be the type to manhandle interior lineman, but he's grown into a player able to best utilize his strength in a manner that best benefits him.

B - Personally, I question his ability to play the nose in a 3-4 scheme. I just think the size limitation may be too much. The most apt comparison I can come up with for Ziggy is La'Roi Glover. I think he'd best excel as a DT in a 4-3 or as an end in the 3-4. The guy has a relentless motor and is one of the fastest interior lineman I've seen in the college game. His best asset is his jump off the ball. He had an uncanny ability to be on or past the opposing lineman by the time the guard/center could get out of his stance. But, we've learned never to put anything past Ziggy.

dfh

I certainly think his frame could be added to, as he's shown the ability to build in the weight room. He came to Missouri as a weakside DE at 230 pounds. He's made position switches before, so I won't complete gamble against him. I just find it hard to believe it'd be a smart idea to potentially have him lose a step and jeopardize his biggest asset by adding weight and plunking him down in the middle.

C - Unlike a lot of other Missouri draft picks (Maclin, Coffman, William Moore), I can't recall any durability issues with Ziggy over the past few years. If you want an anecdote about the kid's toughness, during his sophomore year, he fractured his foot in the third game of the year and was expected to miss the rest of the season. After undergoing surgery to insert a screw in his foot, he missed all of three games.

Not only did he seem to stay healthy for the majority of his career, he never seemed to wear down in a game. This was made all the more impressive by the fact that he almost never saw a break in his final two seasons. During Ziggy's career, Missouri was blessed with a fair bit of depth at defensive end, but never much in the way of defensive tackles. His junior year, it was Ziggy and Lorenzo Williams on 90+ percent of snaps, and during his senior year, it was Ziggy and Jaron Baston for 95+ percent of snaps. You just simply couldn't take the guy off the field. You would think it would have worn the guy down over the course of a game or over the course of a career, but he was almost better as seasons and games went on. I don't feel like looking up stats to corroborate this, but based on tangible game impact alone, Ziggy seemed to just wear out opposing linemen as games progressed.