Today, it's my predictions for the fourth-place finishers in the Big 12 North and South - Missouri and Baylor. Will BU quarterback Robert Griffin endure a sophomore slump that will lead to the Bears' 14th straight losing season, or does Griffin improve and stop the skid? We say Baylor goes bowling...[details]
2007 (Junior): Hood's return to health is expected to bolster a Tiger defensive line that lost two starters. After a fast start to the season, Hood broke his foot against New Mexico and missed much of the year. Played in 10 games overall, making 24 tackles and racking up four sacks. Was named the most improved defensive lineman on the team this spring.
The Good: Has a good first step off the snap and is always the first lineman off the ball. Consistently penetrates and makes his way into opponent's backfield. Displays excellent lateral mobility and quickness. Uses his hands well to shed blocks, is very sudden and knows how to slip blockers one on one. Plays with good toughness and has good power at the point of attack. The Bad: Needs to do a better job playing with a lower pad level on his pass rush. Gets too high when trying to slip blocks and makes himself an easy target. Lacks the overall girth and base to hold the point of attack vs. the double-team; is washed out of plays too easily.
Positives: Flashes good functional strength to control blockers and shoot gaps. Generally plays with balance. Can work the edges and shows a variety of swim and spin moves that stood out at the Senior Bowl, especially in one-on-one drills. Can be disruptive. Solid production. Had an exceptional Combine performance - bench-pressed 225 pounds 34 reps and timed very well for his size. Negatives: Plays too tall and narrow-based without substance. Not powerful. Has to win early or does not win at all. Tends to rise out of his stance, play too upright and get turned too easily - too often caught playing sideways. Average hip flexibility - struggles to unlock his hips and play with consistent leverage. Is not a power player. Motor runs hot and cold. Lacks take-on strength and is washed and eliminated too easily. Cannot flatten, redirect and cock his hips like he needs to on the attack. Can play with more consistent leverage. Not a playmaker. Summary: Finished the Combine near the top of nearly every category for a defensive tackle and might look like an elite talent on paper. Has shown some big-time flashes and could be effective playing in gaps, where he was used more as a junior and stood out more. However, his limited hip flexibility and lack of power will always be a hindrance and the team that gets caught buying into all the hype could be extremely disappointed. More quick than powerful, Hood figures to be drafted early, but he needs to play in a slanting scheme to be effective and could struggle to provide immediate returns. Grade: Second-to-third-round talent.