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Eric Wood C adapts; scouts react

Discussion in 'Draft Zone' started by cowboyjoe, Apr 19, 2009.

  1. cowboyjoe

    cowboyjoe Well-Known Member

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    Wood adapts; scouts react
    Ex-Card is likely first-day pick
    By C. L. Brown • cbrown@courier-journal.com • April 19, 2009

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    Del.icio.usFacebookDiggRedditNewsvineBuzz up!TwitterEric Wood endeared himself to University of Louisville football fans with his consistency, making 49 consecutive starts at center.


    He's endeared himself to NFL scouts with his versatility, showing he can play any spot on the line.
    Wood is projected to go on the first day of the NFL draft on Saturday.
    "A lot of people are saying center, guard, possibly even right tackle -- it all changes depending on who you talk to," said Wood, who took a break in his training to watch the Cardinals' Red-White spring game on Friday. "I'm 6-foot-4 with 34-inch arms. For a lot of people, that's tackle characteristics."
    New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton, speaking at the NFL combine in February, said Wood's ability to adjust to other positions could help him get on the field faster as a rookie.
    "That versatility is important, especially that first year when a player may be on the gameday rosters but not a starter," Payton said. "If he can handle center and guard, chances are he's going to be lineman six or lineman seven because he has versatility."

    Wood, a Cincinnati native, was recruited to U of L as a tackle by then-coach Bobby Petrino. And though he made his mark while evolving into one of the nation's best centers, his NFL draft stock boomed during the one opportunity he had to play guard.
    Senior Bowl organizers originally hesitated to add Wood to the roster for the January game in Mobile, Ala., because they figured he would only play center. The event gives seniors a chance to play for NFL coaches in front of talent evaluators.
    Wood, who was a finalist for the Remington Trophy for the nation's best center, hounded them for a chance to play guard. He ended up on the South team coached by Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio.
    "It was an interesting deal because they didn't know how many other centers they were going to take, and they wanted people that would play other positions," Wood said.

    It wasn't just a position change that helped Wood. It was his performance against a top-rated defensive tackle that raised eyebrows.
    Wood and Boston College defensive tackle B. J. Raji -- projected as a top-15 pick -- went head-to-head during the game.
    "We'd been training together, and that night I did pretty well against him," Wood said. "It paid off for me in the long run."
    NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock ranked Wood the second-best center available after Oregon's Max Unger.
    If Wood is picked in the first two rounds, it will be the highest a Cards offensive linemen has been picked since the New England Patriots selected Bruce Armstrong No. 23 in the 1987 draft.
    "It's been a dream of mine," Wood said. "It'll be a lot of hard work paying off. The fact that it's going to come true next week is amazing."
    C.L. Brown can be reached at (502) 582-4044.
  2. Paniolo22

    Paniolo22 Hawaiian Cowboy

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    I'd be real tempted to take him if he's still there at 51.
  3. Bob Sacamano

    Bob Sacamano Benched

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    da kine, brudda
  4. BAT

    BAT Mr. Fixit

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    You one akamai buggah! :D






    *akamai = smart, clever
  5. cowboyjoe

    cowboyjoe Well-Known Member

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    if we cant get duke robinson i wouldnt mind getting wood, at the same time though, i think we could trade down a few spots, pick up an extra 4th and 6th rounder too
  6. jterrell

    jterrell Penguinite

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    Wood is as close as I get to a pet cat.

    I have never suggested him to the Boys because he is not the biggest, most physical guy and players of similar stature have struggled here. --see Al Johnson

    But I just get the feeling this guy will be a heck of a pro.

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