Will Hood Complete Defensive Puzzle?

There is a lot of hype around first round talent, but the truth is successful teams do most of their damage in the rounds to follow. Even before the off-season got underway, the Cardinals were already assessing the draft pool talent at the Senior Bowl in late January. One of the players the met with was defensive tackle from Missouri, Evander "Ziggy" Hood. Jason Harris explains why.

At 6'3 298 pounds Hood is one of the larger defensive tackles in this year's draft and considered a top-five player at his position. He started every game last year for the Tigers and averaged four tackles a game. Hood finished the season tied for second on his team with five sacks and tied for first in fumbles recovered with two.

A solid second or third round pick, Hood could bring consistency and great awareness to a Cardinals defensive line that is getting older.

A good mix of young and old players, the Cardinal's defense would be an excellent fits for Hood's willingness to learn under veterans like Darnell Dockett, Karlos Dansby and Adrian Wilson.

Defensive ends Bertrand Berry and Antonio Smith are free agents and could free up space for two of last year's defensive end draft picks, Calais Campbell (second) and Kenny Iwebema (fourth). Both contributed on the interior last year for the Cardinals.


Alan Branch
(Getty)

Drafting Hood to add depth could mean the end of the Alan Branch experiment. In two years with the team Branch has under produced to say the least. At 6'5 332 he is a mountain of a man but Coach Ken Whisenhunt may not have seen enough effort out of Branch this past season to keep him out of the dog house.

The biggest thing stopping Hood from falling to the Cardinals in the second round is the fact that they did so well this year. Drafting at the end of each round is usually slim pickings.

There are a lot of picks between 31 and 63 and every year adding depth on both sides of the line is a priority for most teams. Defensive tackle is always a big need for teams looking to address stopping the run. Something the Cardinals failed to do until the playoffs.

Keep a close eye on Hood's numbers from the scouting combine this week.


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