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Mizzou's Ziggy Hood hopes to get call in first round of NFL draft
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
The nerves haven't begun to tingle yet for Missouri defensive tackle Evander "Ziggy" Hood. But he knows that they will as this weekend's NFL draft draws nearer.
"It probably won't be bad till Thursday or Friday," Hood said. "It's building up slowly but surely."
A strong showing this spring in workouts for scouts and team officials has thrust Hood into first-day draft status. He's now rated as a first- or second-round prospect by most analysts. Because of his strong on-field testing, Hood earned a chance to sit down with NFL representatives and explain his passion for the game. That provided another plus for him, Mizzou coach Gary Pinkel said.
"I think when they actually got to talk with him and see what he's like personality-wise, they found out this guy is pretty special," Pinkel said. "I think (they decided), 'Hey, we've got to rethink this guy a little bit.'
"I tell people, 'You're a better football team when he's walking around your locker room.'"
That Hood didn't simply let his Mizzou career — strong as it was — be the sole factor in defining his value provides an indication of the resolve that drives him. "That's just part of my personality," said Hood, 6-feet-3 and 300 pounds. "The game is more fun when you work hard at it."
Hood put up decent numbers at the NFL Scouting Combine in February. But he wasn't satisfied, so he headed back to the weight room and stepped up his workout routine.
"I worked on my speed and strength, and worked on my quickness and change of direction," Hood said. "Whatever teams wanted me to focus on ... that's something I put into my workouts."
The extra labor paid off: Hood significantly bettered his performances in almost every category at Missouri's two pro days. That helped move him up from a middle-round projection.
"He's a phenomenal competitor," Pinkel said. "And when you put him up player against player physically, he's one of the most dominating players in the draft at defensive line."
Hood ranks No. 1, or is tied for first, among defensive tackles in the 40-yard dash (4.83 seconds), 10-yard burst (1.62 seconds), 20-yard burst (2.81 seconds), shuttle run (4.55 seconds), and is a close second in several other categories.
"He's a good combination guy that plays with energy, and they're all looking for people like that," said Tom Marino, a longtime NFC scout who now serves as Scout.com's lead NFL analyst. "He's a run-stopper, he's a try-hard guy. ... I like him."
Hood's explosiveness off the ball is perhaps his most obvious attribute. He registered 15 1/2 sacks for the Tigers, and also forced five fumbles. His 12 quarterback pressures this past season resulted in five interceptions.
Although he's most comfortable in the "3-technique" spot — lined up between the center and guard — Hood is willing to attempt any of the interior positions. "Wherever a team wants me, that's what I'll do," he said.
After making visits to Detroit, Minnesota, New England, San Diego and the Rams, Hood is unsure what team wants him the most. Not that he's picky. "Whoever takes me, it's somewhere I wouldn't mind going to," he said, laughing.
Hood plans to gather this weekend with a few relatives at his family's home in Amarillo, Texas. "It's probably going to be quiet, and we'll just watch TV and wait" for his name to be called, he said.
Hopefully, it won't be a long wait, Hood added.
"That's every draftee's goal, to try to make it to the first round," he said. "This is something I've been dreaming of for a long time."
Re: Mizzou's Ziggy Hood hopes to get call in first round of NFL draft
i can see him going to Indy in the 1st..they need DT`s badly and i think he would be a great fit if they continue to run the same D that they did during the Dungy years.
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