Bradley’s Buzz: Would Evander be the real deal for Falcons?

Gettin’ Ziggy with it?

Having monitored mock drafts closely the past few months, I can report that not much surprises me. I know most of the names, and I have some notion as to where they’re supposed to go. But Pat Kirwan of NFL.com stumped the Buzz band in his latest mock by throwing out a name — and it’s a good name — as the Falcons’ No. 1 pick.

He’s Evander Hood, a defensive tackle from Missouri. His nickname is Ziggy. (Me, I don’t know why a guy named Evander would need a nickname, but that’s just me.) As NFL.com’s scouting report notes, Ziggy had a tepid senior season. But he had a good Senior Bowl and an even better pro day, according to Frank Cooney’s NFL Draft Scout, and of such things are 24th overall picks sometimes made.

OK, so you’re asking: Why Ziggy? Dave Henry of Amarillo.com — Hood is from Amarillo, which rhymes with “pillow,” sort of — writes that Hood’s grandmother dubbed him that because he reminded her of the pillowy comic-strip character. This apparently is the same grandmother whom David Ubben of the Columbian Missourian reports will send Ziggy articles about himself via the Internet.

A confession: I don’t know what Thomas Dimitroff is apt to do come Draft Day. (And neither do you.) But I do know that TD has told me more than once that he and Mike Smith value defensive tackles immensely, and I could see the Falcons spending their first pick on a DT more readily than I can them picking a marginal linebacker or even a tight end. (Peyton Youmans of the Bleacher Report expresses a similar sentiment.)

Plus, I just like the idea of a 300-pound lineman who goes by Ziggy.

More Baby Braves

Esteemed former colleague Gordon Edes, writing for Yahoo! Sports, chronicles the spring rise and the many inspirational tattoos of center fielder Jordan Schafer. Gordon — who was known as either “Hack” or “Slash” at the ol’ AJC for his merciless editing of I.J. Rosenberg’s copy, which occasionally warranted it — also reports that Schaefer spent $90,000 of his bonus money not on a new car but on a computer-driven batting-practice machine. Why, I have one of those in the back yard!

According to Scout.com, though, Schafer is only the 103rd-best prospect in baseball. Tommy Hanson is No. 5 on the list, and Jason Heyward, not to be confused with Justin Hayward, is No. 9. And Julio Teheran, a pitcher from Colombia, is No. 16, which surprises the heck out of the Braves blog Talking Chop.

Michael Vick, noted author

Gossip writers Rush & Molloy of the New York Daily News inform us that a certain former Falcons quarterback is seeking a ghost writer for his prison memoirs. The same Daily News informs us PETA is already irate. The same Daily News wonders if any Vick book would violate the Son of Sam law, which holds that a criminal cannot profit from a written account of his crimes.

Is he Billy G., as in “Georgia”?

Writing for the aformentioned Bleacher Report, Robert Holland suggests the Bulldogs should turn to Billy Gillispie, who just got fired after two winning seasons at Kentucky. The same Mr. Holland also lists five reasons Georgia is poised for an immediate rebound

Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.

Not to be a negative Nelly, but I’d disagree on both points. Gillispie got canned because he was a terrible ambassador for Kentucky basketball, and Georgia needs a salesman as much as it needs a coach. And the Bulldogs could hire Mike Krzyzewski and they’d still stink next season. Holland notes that Georgia’s returning roster is young. With the exception of Trey Thompkins and perhaps Dustin Ware, it’s also remarkably untalented.

A guess: Georgia will do well to win 12 games in 2009-2010, which is precisely the number the 2008-2009 team won.

Nope, he’s Billy G., as in “gone”

Speaking of the former Kentucky coach, here’s a rather hilarious video of him being chased through the halls of Memorial Coliseum by the legendary Alan Cutler of WLEX-TV on the day Gillispie became the former Kentucky coach.

125 comments Add your comment

TommyP

March 30th, 2009
10:30 am

No chance Gillispie should end up here. He has so much baggage and we no longer are holding it for coaches.

Anderson would an ideal coach for the Dawgs.

Ahhhh….Mike Vick. He’ll probably end up on Celebrity Apprentice in a year to make sure they have an athletic train-wreck following Rodman.

Not gonna focus on names in the NFL draft….I trust Dimitroff and will support whomever he nabs.

Great job as always, Mark.

marko

March 30th, 2009
10:31 am

Ziggy would’nt come as a total shock. We already know that Dimitroff drafts players without asking Mel Kiper what he thinks about it.

DawgGirl32

March 30th, 2009
10:34 am

I think that Dustin Ware is pretty talented but besides him and Trey Thompkins, I agree that I don’t see a whole lotta hope for next year talent-wise. At least Swansey and that other kid are leaving. No offense to them, I wish them both the best, but it does free up a couple scholarships.

Hairy Dawg

March 30th, 2009
10:36 am

I think Dustin Ware is a keeper. He had a pretty good freshman season. Other than Thompkins and Ware, it does get pretty dicey. Getting more out of Chris Barnes and Jeremy Price will a huge key for the next head coach.

Mark Bradley

March 30th, 2009
10:40 am

Thanks, TommyP.

And I’ll concede that Dustin Ware had some moments.

marko

March 30th, 2009
11:08 am

Bradley, all I know is what I read in the funny papers. Still if the great pig skin pontificators know their stuff, twenty-four is a few picks early for Ziggy. If he’s the Falcon’s guy, I’d think that they’d try to trade down a few picks and gain a pick or two.

Mark Bradley

March 30th, 2009
11:10 am

If I’m going by the funny papers, I’d draft Judge Parker. Or Dagwood Bumstead.

frank

March 30th, 2009
11:11 am

no kentucky teams in the final four this year mark! they should just cancel it.

I say Mark Bradley for UK Basketball coach!

marko

March 30th, 2009
11:15 am

Dagwood Bumtead was a better player than Aundrey Bruce. Do you remember the moves he put on Mr. Dithers?

Mac

March 30th, 2009
11:16 am

You’re right, I have no idea what Dimitroff will do. It’s much easier after last year’s draft to sit back in peace and trust the Falcons will choose wisely.

I’ll ghost write Vick’s book for a flat $60,000 fee (because I think it’ll quickly move to the discount bin, no matter how well I write it) and the stipulation I get to use a pen name. Just have his people call my people.

All that matters is that Jordan Schafer is the No. 1-rated prospect for the Braves centerfield job. I think it will be his sooner than later. Unless, of course some team can figure out how to trade us Len Barker for him.

Cameron

March 30th, 2009
11:31 am

If we draft Ziggy Hood, then we are not doing our homework. Missouri had three All-American type defenders on their defense according to the experts. William Moore, Ziggy Hood, and Sean Witherspoon. If you watched them, you would know that is not true. No way a team with a future NFL top talent at each level of the defense can have such a bad defense. You said it yourself that he had a horrible senior season. I think he is overrated. 2nd round pick at best. I don’t care how well he performed at the Senior Bowl or at the combine. All that tells me is he performs when he wants to, mainly when money is on the line. I would not draft him if it were me.

I with you about UGA Bball. Thompkins was a five-star recruit, Dustim Ware a three-star, Jeremy Price a four-star and they all showed promise. Albert Jackson and Chris Barnes are solid rotation guys. Travis Leslie and Anyorah have talent they have just been ijured so far. I think Sawnsey is a good shooter that can be utilized if he stays. If not, that leaves us with an extra scholarship. The right coach can turn things around very quickly, especially if he can convince a top recruit to switch (Favors from Tech). In todays college basketball world you can turn things around in one year by signing one recruit (Beasley and K-State). To say that we are way to far off is wrong. If Capel, Jay Wright, or Anderson are hired, we will be in the tournamne within two years.

Nique

March 30th, 2009
11:42 am

Ziggy will not & SHOULD NOT BE THE SELECTION! If you understand our Defensive scheme, we already have two of our upper echalont players who will be playing & filling the role of UT, Bab & Anderson. The position of need from the tackle perspective is NT, which Hood doesn’t play. He is to small to play this position & is a penitrating DT much like Bab, so this makes no sence at all! Why would we draft a player in the 1st round which plays the same position as someone who we just signed to a 5 year contract? We wouldn’t! This doesn’t fill one of our needs on D & our 1st round selection HAS to address an area of need!

[...] AJC’s Mark Bradley: Falcons Eyeing DT Evander Hood? [...]

Mark Bradley

March 30th, 2009
11:47 am

So does what I’m hearing from y’all mean there’s zero love for Ziggy?

Mark Bradley

March 30th, 2009
11:48 am

Why, thanks, Frank. And I am a Kentucky grad, which is what a slew of Kentucky folks seem to prefer.

SeminoleWarrior

March 30th, 2009
12:04 pm

What’s up all. As most of the regulars know, I have been on the Patrick Chung at 24 bandwagon for weeks. But I’m going to make a dramatic shitf here and go with the Ziggy Hood pick. Why you may ask? Two reasons. First, one of the best defenses in football, (division rival mind you), has thrived over the last ten years with smaller, quicker DTs. As a matter of fact, this unit has finished in the top 10 in defense against the run and top 15 against the pass. The likes of Sapp, Culpepper, McFarland, and Hovan have held up well. What was the one advantage they had…HIGH quality defensive coaching. Additionally, I am moved to this pick by comments made by Coach Hamilton last year as he was evaluating the defensive line at that time. I think it set a possible precedent. Check out Coach Hamilton last year in training camp:

“You can get the job done with smaller guys but you have to be a very disruptive defense in order to stop the run,” said Hamilton. “Offensive lineman are big, fat hogs that hold you if you let them. That’s why it’s tough for defensive linemen to come into the league and be successful if they don’t have a good coach to teach them how to use their hands and keep offensive linemen from holding them.”

Hood and Babs would give us a pair of tackles that would emulate what Monte Kiffin used over the past ten years to make Tampa one of the most consistent defenses in football. I think Hood makes more sense now if you check out “Sugar Bear’s” words and Smitty’s philosophy of aggressive line play. Thoughts??

marko

March 30th, 2009
12:06 pm

Bradley, I’ve been trying to make sense out of your rather terse response. It occurred to me that you thought that I had said Mark, all I know is what I read in the funny papers, Bradley. You seem to think that I’d bestowed you with some sort of honorary title. What I said was Bradley, all I know is what I read in the funny papers. In this case I is me not you. My intent was to show a little humility, and to suggest that I don’t take myself too seriously. Some people are so thin skinned don’t you think? At any rate I find your existing title, village idiot, adequate and would dream of improving on it.

SeminoleWarrior

March 30th, 2009
12:09 pm

Nique, if one looks for defensive models and consistency, Brad’s pcik here makes sense. I am using the model of the defensive line of the Tampa bay team from 1999 – 2008. This line was the anchor of a top ten defense 8 of the last 10 years. And they thrived with undersized tackles that were quick, penetrating, and aggressive.

SeminoleWarrior

March 30th, 2009
12:11 pm

Marko and Nique, you both know that I have been championing Patrick Chung at 24. But check out this statement from last season by DL coach “Sugar Bear” Hamilton. It lends credence to the possibiity that Hood could be taken.

“You can get the job done with smaller guys but you have to be a very disruptive defense in order to stop the run,” said Hamilton. O-lineman are big, fat hogs that hold you if you let them. That’s why it’s tough for defensive linemen to come into the league and be successful if they don’t have a good coach to teach them how to use their hands and keep offensive linemen from holding them.”

SeminoleWarrior

March 30th, 2009
12:13 pm

Philadelphia uses a similiar approach with its defensive tackles. And they too have been very effective against the run.

marko

March 30th, 2009
12:14 pm

Seminole, You’ve hit on something I’ve been thinking for awhile now. This defense is looking more Tampa than Jacksonville.

Reno 911

March 30th, 2009
12:17 pm

Vick assumes that his fans can read?

SeminoleWarrior

March 30th, 2009
12:18 pm

Exaxtly Marko…over that 10 year period, Buc tackles averaged 6″1, 303 pounds. And put an average of 35 tackles and 4.5 sacks each. Of course, Sapp lead the way for several years with double digits.

SeminoleWarrior

March 30th, 2009
12:22 pm

Hood reminds me of Saints rooke tackle Sedrick Ellis. All Ellis did last year, as a 6′1″ 305lb tackle, was get 31 tackles and 4 sacks. That would have been tops for Falcons DTs last year.

Mark Bradley

March 30th, 2009
12:23 pm

Let’s not get huffy, Marko. It was just a little joke. Smile, I say!

SeminoleWarrior

March 30th, 2009
12:26 pm

Another point. We could go with the quicker aggressive approach but take a second DT (Roy Miller or Terrance Taylor)in round five. Both of them are bigger, run stuffer type tackles.

Mark Bradley

March 30th, 2009
12:39 pm

My thoughts, Seminole Warrior, are that you make more sense than Mel Kiper Jr. ever has. Seriously.

marko

March 30th, 2009
12:39 pm

I’ve got run , good stuff guy’s. Mark, when I write these things I try to to think that having a couple of beers with my buds. Any and all sarcasms are good natured fun. If you detect a pompous tone, it’s a sure sign I’m joking.

Mark Bradley

March 30th, 2009
12:44 pm

Thanks, Marko. Come back anytime.

But I should warn you: If I ever sound pompous, it’s usually because I am being pompous. I can do that now and again.

BJohnDawg

March 30th, 2009
12:44 pm

UGA Basketball is a mess right now. We need a top flight coach to sort it out. Gillispie not the guy for the job.

Falcons if they want Ziggy should trade down. But they need a NT.And a linebacker and a cornerback.That should be the priority.

Drew

March 30th, 2009
12:46 pm

Hey Mark, Mizzou fan here. Those stats are actually wrong. If you check Mizzou’s site heres what it lists.

62 Tackles, 7 TFL and 5 sacks 2 PBU’s and 2 Fumble recoverys, 1 blocked kick

He’s a manbeast and great character guy.

Mark Bradley

March 30th, 2009
12:51 pm

Whoa. You’re right, Drew. I’ll adjust above.

Thanks much.

BJohnDawg

March 30th, 2009
12:53 pm

That video is great. The reporter in better shape than the coach.
If he cannot handle Lexington’s media, The Lexington report was ready to follow him into the bathroom if necessary.

I dont think he would be in a position to handle Atlanta’s. Although he probably would be in better shape then a few like Steak and others. Atlanta guys would not chase him, they would just say ” he had no comment.”

TROTTINGHOMETUDD

March 30th, 2009
12:56 pm

Not even a rumor about Georgia’s coach selection.

No wonder no one wants to come here.

SeminoleWarrior

March 30th, 2009
12:57 pm

Mark B, thanks for the compliment. Drew is dead on about Ziggy Hood’s production. And he did all that with increased focus on him by other Big 12 teams.

Mark Bradley

March 30th, 2009
12:59 pm

About Alan Cutler: He was working in Lexington when I was covering Kentucky, which was in the early ’80s. He was — and apparently still is — rather aggressive. He once reported on a Friday night newscast that there was “a rumor going around the Paris football game that Joe B. Hall had a heart attack.”

Joe B. was then the Kentucky coach, and that year he and I were still on speaking terms. So I called his home. He answered the phone. I said, “Did you have a heart attack?”

He said: “Don’t think so.”

Drew

March 30th, 2009
1:12 pm

Seminole is correct. Ziggy saw a constant double team. He missed his buddy Lorenzo Williams this year. Another thing about Ziggy was he was a 2 star DE coming out of high school. Came to campus at 245 Lbs, and just exploded in the weight room with Pat Ivey. Played as a true freshman at DT at probably 275 pounds and continued to grow. Has a very good spin move that he showed at Senior Bowl. Should be a solid 4-3 DT in the NFL.

SeminoleWarrior

March 30th, 2009
1:16 pm

If I could only figure out a way to get both Hood and Chung in the first two rounds for my beloved Birds?

KUfan

March 30th, 2009
1:21 pm

Ziggy Hood is a nightmare on DFence. He was the only one playing good defense when we played them. He Tore us up from the floor up.
Winkies.

Mark Bradley

March 30th, 2009
1:24 pm

OK, KU Fan, consider yourself alerted: That line, “Tore up from the floor up”? I’ll be stealing that soon.

Glenn

March 30th, 2009
1:56 pm

So let me get this straight…

On one hand, we have “Ziggy” who had a bad Senior season but a good Pro Day and is moving up the Draft charts.

On the other hand, we have Michael Johnson, named first team All-American (AFCA); a first team All-ACC selection; a member of most of GA Tech’s special teams; one of three of GA Tech’s Team Captains last season; he led the team and ranked third in the ACC in tackles-for-loss (17.5) last season; he ranked third in the ACC in sacks (9.0); he forced three fumbles; he recovered one fumble; he had one interception return for a touchdown; he had one blocked field goal; he was credited with seven pass break-ups; there are only 10 players in NCAA history who have blocked more career field goals (3) than him; he had 31 career tackles-for-loss, which ranks tied for 16th in Tech history; his 19 career sacks rank seventh in Tech history; he caused 10 fumbles during his career; he three of his tackles were for loss, including two sacks, and he forced a fumble against LSU in the Chick-fil-A Bowl ; AND Michael had a great Pro Day.

Please tell me why Michael Johnson is considered a “risk” and “Ziggy” is considered someone worthy of being selected in the First Round ahead of Michael.

Glenn

March 30th, 2009
2:00 pm

Oh, and Michael was double teamed most of the year and Eugene Monroe, from Virginia, the Offensive Tackle that is projected to go somewhere in the Top 5 of the Draft, said that Michael Johnson is the toughest player he ever went against in his entire career.

SeminoleWarrior

March 30th, 2009
2:07 pm

Glenn, 62 tackles and 5 sacks at DT is not a bad year. The stats on the NFL website as well as draftscout.com are in error. The dish does not lie and I saw some of Hood’s games. He is definately what he appears to be. Johnson reminds me too much of what we saw three years ago when the front office fell in love with Jamaal Anderson. I’m not saying that he is but we are set at DE. Davis will emerge as a surprise to many this season as he becomes a full time starter. Prior to this year, the team did all it could to justify drafting Anderson in the first round and it just has not worked at DE. Davis will garner at least 5 to 7 sacks this year and with improved interior play, lead by Babs and Hood, the 2009 Falcon defensive front will shock the league in the manner the 2008 Falcons offensive line did.

SeminoleWarrior

March 30th, 2009
2:19 pm

Most of Johnson’s “dominance” came against bad teams; a stark reminder of what happened in the SEC West when Anderson had his “breakout”. Do not get me wrong; I wish him the best and hope that he lives up to the incredible potential he flashes. I just do not see us going that route with Davis, Anderson, and Abraham already on board at DE with Biermann in certain pass-rushing roles when needed.

Mark Bradley

March 30th, 2009
2:24 pm

I understand your question, Glenn, and it doesn’t seem fair. But scouts like what they like, even if sometimes what they like doesn’t make sense to us lay people.

laxman

March 30th, 2009
2:24 pm

ESPN’s scouting report on Hood is not accurate. He had a very good senior season; their stats are nowhere close to accurate. They list him as having 23 tackles, 2.5 for loss, and 1.5 sacks. His real stats: 62 tackles, 7 for loss, 5 sacks. Still not out of this world, but pretty darn solid for a defensive tackle (tough to really pile up stats at that position when teams are always passing, too).

I have no clue where they got their numbers from, but they are not accurate.

laxman

March 30th, 2009
2:27 pm

Actually I just discovered the source of their numbers: they list the stats from his true freshman season. He was not even a starter at that point.

Mark Bradley

March 30th, 2009
2:29 pm

Bloggers, I salute your fact-checking abilities. You certainly did it better than I did. (Though I’ve since corrected things.)

Thanks for the input. I mean it.

Glenn

March 30th, 2009
2:36 pm

SeminoleWarrior, why don’t you go back and ask Eugene Monroe who HE thinks the toughest Defensive Lineman he’s played against in his 4 years of College ball?

If he warrants being selected as one of the top 5 picks in the Draft, in one of the most critical positions for an offense (the one that protects the QB), then I’d say he’s probably a pretty good judge as to whether Michael is a slacker or not.

If you had been watching any of GA Tech’s games, you would have seen that Michael was double teamed most of the year, and as the season progressed and injuries took their toll on Tech’s linebackers and defensive backs, Michael was used in a wide variety of different ways in which to cover for the inexperience on Tech’s defensive side of the line.

Michael often time used his massive reach to have a slow rush to one side of the field to take away passing lanes and allow safeties and linebackers to shift towards the center and other side of the field. In other words, Michael was able to funnel plays to the strength of Tech’s defense just by his presence.

Most people don’t realize that GA Tech was so decimated by injuries and lack of scholarship players that Michael was playing virtually every down on defense and special teams. In spite of all that, Michael never complained and his personal statistics increased during the course of the season (as the temperature cooled).

brewdawg

March 30th, 2009
2:39 pm

Here is my opinion on why Damon Evans apparently had so little interest in Coach Grant: it would mirror the Felton hire too much. Meaning hiring a young, promising coach that has had success at a lesser Division-1 school to lead a “major” program. I personally don’t think you can go about business with that mindset, and maybe I’m wrong, but it’s the only reason I can think of.

Now, as far as Billy G is concerned, I’d be okay with it. In fact, I actually believe he will be the next coach at UGA. Now, that isn’t to say he’s going to be Evans’ first choice by any means. However, at best, both Capel and Anderson would be making a lateral move by taking the UGA job, but realistically, both would be taking a step down. I can’t see why either would leave their current position for the UGA job.