Ziggy Hood Move To Nose Tackle Talk Back In High Gear, But It Really Shouldn\’t Be

The annual Willie Colon move to guard talk is back in high swing and so you knew the annual Ziggy Hood move to nose tackle talk would not be far behind it. It is more talked about this offseason it seems being as Casey Hampton has a strong possibility of starting the year on the PUP list as he recovers from his knee surgery.

Pittsburgh Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin was asked on Tuesday about the possibility of Hood playing nose tackle and he replied, “Hood is potentially part of that. He is a very talented and strong guy, but I think Steve McLendon proved that he is a capable backup a year ago, and in some instances a starter. He played a lot of football for us, so we are not in any way discouraged by his progress or what he might continue to evolve into. In terms of the long scenario of Casey Hampton not being there, I am not of that mentality. We are gearing ourselves for 2012. I am singularly focused in that regard. He is going to be a part of it.”

The jury is still out on McLendon right now, but most of the fears associated with him are because of his weight it seems. People tend to look at his listed weight of 280 pounds as a reason why he can\’t succeed, but as Jim Wexell has tried to point out several times, McLendon is over 300 pounds. The inconsistencies that we have seen with McLendon come from his lack of reps in my honest opinion. Keep in mind that he has yet to play 250 snaps on the defensive side of the ball as yet and he is still learning the nuances of the position.

In my opinion McLendon he is already a better two gap defensive lineman than Hood is and this was the knock on Hood when he came out of college as well. He played defensive tackle at Missouri and excelled more as a three and four technique defensive lineman in their 4-3 system. That is why he was projected as a 3-4 defensive end at the NFL level. His strength to this date is one gap responsibilities in the three and five technique, with the three being the better of the two.

Can Hood play the nose? In emergency situations I suppose so and I think that was what Tomlin was alluding to in his response by using the word, potentially. I do not think Tomlin regards Hood as a better option there than McLendon right now and I think they will try to ride McLendon until Hampton is ready to return. I had Chris Hoke on the podcast right after he retired and asked him specifically if he thought Hood could play the nose in 2012 and he told me, “I can\’t see him playing nose. I mean he does that, he\’s an emergency guy. He\’ll take snaps when we started getting down in numbers, like when Casey and I were getting hurt and he took some snaps there in practice, but I don\’t see Ziggy playing nose on a consistent basis. I see Ziggy playing the three, the four and the five like he\’s been doing very, very well the last two years and I don\’t see that happening.”

Now of course Hoke is not on the Steelers coaching staff, but he certainly is in tune with what is going on with the current talent on the roster. In short he said that in emergency situations that Hood indeed could be forced to take some snaps there and I see that as what Tomlin was insinuating as well. Hoke figures to be in the college coaching ranks down the line now that he his retired and I really trust his opinion. His response was in no way a knock on Hood either as he merely stating that he is much better suited for the three, four and five technique role.

Now is McLendon the long term answer at nose tackle? I don\’t think so, but I think he is a player that could serve as a short term answer until the successor of Hampton is groomed. The Steelers will almost certainly draft a nose tackle in the first four rounds of the upcoming draft and whoever that ends up being could certainly see playing time in his rookie season much like Hampton did many moons ago. It all depends of course on how fast that player progresses.

So will Hood see a few snaps at nose tackle in 2012? I wouldn\’t rule out him getting a series or two here and there, but I do not think the Steelers want to make a habit out of doing that. That is by far not his best positional fit on the defensive line.

  • Most of the Steelers players, do not play at their listed weights. Most players are listed at their NFL combine height/weight. McLendon doesn’t weigh 280, and Timmons doesn’t weigh 234. As Dave stated, McLendon is north of 300, and Timmons is in the 250 range.

    The bigger question I have regarding Hood, is if he can learn to play NT well enough, to allow for Keisel, Hood and Heyward to all be on the field at the same time.

  • Jprankster2005

    I really would like the steelers to move up and get Poe i think he could be the next hampton so in that regard…… what do you think it would take for the steelers to move up 8 to 12 spots as poe is said to go around 12 and 15…….. do you think they could get him with there 24th pick and 2nd rd…..or do u see them going in a differnt direction as to Werthy or someone in later round????

  • SteelersDepot

    Poe is more of a 3 & 5 technique guy than he is a true nose tackle. Has not shown anything on film that he can be a 2 gap nose tackle. he was a combine warrior and although comparisons to Ngata are fair, he is a LONG ways from that at the NFL level. He is a better fit for 4-3 teams as a one gap defensive tackle.

  • Joe D

    I think they will throw Kiesel in at NT the start of the season before Hood…
    Leaving Hood and Hayward at DE so they can improve instead of jockeying around the young players..
    Hayward, Kiesel, and Hood should be getting the start…

  • SteelersDepot

    I will faint if Keisel ever takes a snap at NT

  • Boss

    No, He’s a 3-4 Nose

  • Kysteeler

    I would like to know know where his 280 came from? I saw him listed at the combine at 6’2 and 306 and his pro day he was just a little shorter than 6’2. I doubt he grew 2 inches and lost 25lbs since then.

  • SteelersDepot

    Disagree. Better suited as a 3 tech DT.

  • Nolrog

    >>> what do you think it would take for the steelers to move up 8 to 12 spots . .

    This year’s number 1 and next year’s number one, and maybe a number 2 as well. In other words, far too much.

  • Jefferson St. Joe

    You’re right. Leave Ziggy alone. Similar to Aaron Smith career’s arc, 2-3 years from now we’ll all be saying how good this guy is at his job despite a lack of statistics and accolades.

    I will also faint if Keisel plays the nose.

  • Jprankster2005

    I would agree it would be to much but i would just love to have poe on the team………. but i’m sure we will do good in the draft either way just like we do every year…….

  • Jprankster2005

    I would like to know who everyone would like the steelers to pick with the number 24 pick……i’m curious to see what others would like to see with that pick…….myself i would have to say glenn or werthy

  • Derick

    sigh… let me know when this is over.

  • Derick

    I agree with Dave, Poe is much better suited for a 43 defense. I am really liking Ta’amu as a 2nd round NT for the Steelers.

  • Jprankster2005

    When whats over

  • Jprankster2005

    I just saw Brandon Jacobs signed with San Fran I knew we probably had no chance at him but I think he would of fit right in the offense……..But as long as the young back are healthy I think they will do better than Mendenhall……….

  • Derick

    the talk about Hood actually starting as the NT for the season. it is a joke to even talk about imo.

  • Derick

    hey Dave, you see McShay’s 4.0 Mock? i like Hightower in the 1st but Doug Martin RB from Boise State? really……. he has Ta’amu going to the Chargers 7 picks ahead of Pittsburgh but wow.

  • Derick

    that would be unwise to sign Jacobs for the Steelers imo. he is a bruising big back. they have multiple big backs for much cheaper and already on the roster in Clay and Dwyer. i liked to idea of Tolbert but i actually would be content with Redman, Dwyer, Clay, and Batch going into camp. there are already other guys on the roster for camp bodies.

  • Sam

    You could out a wheel barrow at nose tackle, please get away from thinking this is a tough position to play. Casey has been at 50% the last 3 years. Draft someone in the 5th round and stick em in there

  • Cols714

    No, the Willie Colon talk is only in high gear on Steelers message boards. Willie Colon was drafted by Bill Cowher, Ken Whisenhunt was the OC and Russ Grimm the OL coach. They did not move him to guard.

    Mike Tomlin took over, Bruce Arians was the OC and Zerilein (sp) was the OL coach. They did not move him to guard.

    A new OL coach was brought in, they did not move him to guard.

    They now have a new OC and guess what? He’s still not moving to guard. Why this fantasy has persisted for so long on Steelers web sites is beyond me.

    As for Hood to NT, I doubt that happens either. Probably only in an emergency.

  • Derick

    alright… NT is a very hard find but w/e

  • Jprankster2005

    I think dwyer can be the next big back also Batch if they can stay healthy and get there shot…….But Clay isnt going to make the roster…….

  • I’d be happiest with any one of the following seven scenarios at 24 (in no real order). This is assuming Boston College middle linebacker Luke Kuechly, Memphis defensive tackle Dontari Poe and Stanford guard David DeCastro are not available:
    1) Draft Coby Fleener (Stanford tight end)
    2) Draft Dont’a Hightower (Bama middle linebacker)
    3) Draft Kevin Zeitler (Wisconsin offensive guard who is also attempting to work at becoming a possibility at center if a team needed it)
    4) Draft Cordy Glenn (Georgia offensive guard/right tackle)
    5) Draft Riley Reiff (Iowa tackle)
    6) Draft Jonathan Martin (Stanford left tackle)
    7) Trade the pick for more picks
    No running backs unless Trent Richardson magically falls to them (not happening), no receivers unless a Justin Blackmon/Michael Floyd magically fall to them (not happening), no Mike Adams (the extremely overrated Ohio State offensive tackle that’s been linked to the Steelers who I hate) and no Mark Barron (I think he’s a good safety prospect, but not a great/special one ala Polamalu or Ed Reed. I’d be happy with him in Round 2, but not at 24th overall).

  • Kingtut499

    Dave, do you have a quota at Steelers Depot or you just like to type anything. Every year its the same articles about nothing that never, ever in the faintest of imaginations of a nats Ass to happen.What ever happen to real journalism. Its being replaced with this Disney Fairy-Tale BS. Ziggy is a three, Stevie wonder can see that. McClendon is a Back up. They will draft a future NT. Oh I am sorry I didnt read the title. Ok Who in the hell is Talking about this but you. give us some Meat! Were Steeler Nation. Skip the salad.

  • SteelersDepot

    then stop reading.

  • SteelersDepot

    I just helped you not be tempted to read anymore. No time for trolls.

  • Jprankster2005

    I actually enjoy coming here now that I’ve found the site……..I think this site is first to annoucne most things signings, rumors etc….. I come everyday and a few times a day to see the next article……Keep em coming……..

  • Bleebo77

    I saw that. What worries me a bit with the Steelers draft is that since they draft late in each round, I feel like some of their preferred players by round will go off the board slightly before they pick. Hightower should be there at 1.24, but the OTs, S, OGs, and maybe even CBs with a 1st round grade will be gone before they pick at 1.24. In Round 2, I think Ta-amu and the 2nd round OGs will by gone when they pick.

    Do they reach at any point or just let the draft come to them and see who falls to them? They are good at the latter, but that’s sometimes harder to do when you have a couple areas of need. If they’re in love with a guy, I guess they could move up… like for Ta’amu in Round 2.

    It’d be nice to see them address a position or two in free agency, but they could also wait until after the draft for some positions. If they like Sylvester, for example, maybe they do lean away from ILB early in the draft. If O-lineman don’t fall to them in the draft as they’d like, maybe they can always sign back Starks or even Kemoatou (sp?) for depth closer to the season. It’s always fun to try and piece together the puzzle!

  • Steelcubs65

    Willie Colon started at guard so…

    Ya you’re wrong

  • Jnope

    Why doesn’t Steelers.com update the players weight? they even took down the message board last year, it’s become a useless site.

  • Cols714

    When was this?

  • John Mazza

    They dont really think it matters i guess. Hell they had Bettis listed at 250lbs… im 250 and 5’10 and hes way bigger than i am lol .

  • toward the last half of last season I kept watching McLendon thinking he would fail due to being undersized… but he just didn’t