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May 31, 2009

Wexell| Top pick gets good reviews

Charlie Casserly’s last

No. 1 draft pick as an NFL general manager was defensive end Mario Williams, a surprise choice over everyone else’s favorite No. 1, Reggie Bush.

Casserly was fired after the season, but his pick of Williams has proven to be the right one. Now a draft expert for NFL Network, Casserly attended Steelers practice on Thursday. Did he like anyone in particular?

“I like Ziggy Hood,” said the 28-year NFL personnel veteran. “I like his quickness, his movements, his body type

– stuff you can see better here in person than on tape.”

Everyone seems to like the Steelers’ first-round draft pick, and with good reason. On this day, the 300-pound Hood showed off his athleticism by running from sideline to sideline in pursuit of plays. When the defensive end got there in time, coach Mike Tomlin let everyone know it with a “That’s it Ziggy!”

“He’s looking good,” said Steelers nose tackle Casey Hampton. “From what I’ve seen he does a special job using his hands. Most guys who come in from college are used to being quicker than everybody, and used to running through gaps or ripping through guys. I don’t know if it’s been (line coach John Mitchell) Mitch getting on him, or if he’s been coached like that, but he can use his hands and keep guys off of him.”

Hood was drafted to bolster a defensive line that’s first five players will average 32.8 years of age this season. It’s a veteran unit that’s still playing at a high level, and one that’s probably grown tired of hearing about its age. So Hood figured he’d get the cold shoulder from the group this spring.

“I expected them to say, ‘OK, rookie’s coming in to get my job and I can’t talk to him, can’t give him tricks of the trade,’” said Hood. “But right now, they’re showing me – not everything because there’s probably a lot more to learn

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