Aug 10, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Ziggy Hood (96) on the sidelines against the New York Giants during the first half at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

Ziggy Hood Embracing His New Role

Many analysts thought general manager David Caldwell and the Jacksonville Jaguars overpaid when they signed former Pittsburgh Steeler Ziggy Hood to a 4-year, $16 million contract. Drafted in the first round, the Steelers expected Hood to develop into a long-term fixture at defensive end in their 3-4 defensive scheme. Despite his physical gifts, Hood never really took to his new position and was disappointing for much of his first 5 seasons in the league.

Thankfully, Caldwell and head coach Gus Bradley have other plans for Hood. Back in a 4-3 scheme, Hood will return to his natural position of defensive tackle. So far he seems to be embracing his new role:

“He’s really enjoying it… He’s doing good. It’s a different technique for him. We’re seeing great get-up and explosiveness. For him, it’s just reps. I think training camp will be really good for him. He’s understanding our tempo, learning our defense, what’s asked of him, but I think you will see him fine-tune it in camp.”

– Head Coach Gus Bradley on Ziggy Hood

It’s similar to what I did in college. My main concern is footwork. Once I get that down, I’ll be ready to rock and roll from there. – Ziggy Hood
David Caldwell hit a home-run when he signed Sen’Derrick Marks as a free agent last offseason, but he had no help along the defensive front. Marks played 946 snaps, the 3rd most of any defensive tackle in the NFL behind only Dontari Poe and Gerald McCoy. Beefing up the defensive tackle rotation was a priority this offseason, and Hood is a low-risk, high potential signing. If Hood can regain the form that made him a first round selection coming out of Missouri, he could help the Jacksonville defense make a significant leap in 2014.

 

– Daniel Lago

 

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