Connecicut Product Zach Hurd Worth Watching

Offensive lineman and draft prospect Zach Hurd worked out at UConn's pro day yesterday.

Given that Packers director of college scouting John Dorsey is an alum of the University of Connecticut and reportedly attended their pro day workout yesterday, it may be worth paying attention to UConn guard Zach Hurd.

It's not that the Packers have shown a propensity for drafting players from Connecticut, but it's possible Dorsey has a little more familiarity with players from alma mater than most.

And Hurd is a mid-round draft choice that interviewed with the Packers while at the NFL Combine.

"I'm a physical guy that's running to the whistle, blocking to the whistle," said Hurd describing himself to Cheesehead TV. "I can get to the second level, get on linebackers, great at pass pro. I only gave up two sacks my whole career. And just getting out in the open field on screens and just bringing that intensity to the team."

Hurd has started 39 consecutive games over the course of the past three seasons, the past two of which he's been named a first-team All-Big East performer at left guard.

He takes pride in the fact he never missed a game since becoming a starter his sophomore season, and in fact, missed only one snap.

"I learned how to play hurt," said Hurd. "You're going to have bumps and bruises, but you've got to fight through them in the NFL with however many games we're going to have in a season.

"You've got to be able to take care of your body the right way, do the extra treatment sessions, the right nutrition so your body is able to go each week. If you're going to play at the professional level, you've got to treat your body like a professional."

The UConn offensive lineman has blocked for four consecutive 1,000-yard rushers over the course of his career, including running back Jordan Todman the past two seasons and Donald Brown, a first-round draft choice of the Indianapolis Colts, before that.

Todman was able to become the Big East's Offensive Player of the Year thanks in large part to Hurd and the blocking in front of the star running back.

"We had a great offensive line this year," said Hurd. "We're a tight-knit group, but we also had Anthony Sherman in the backfield opening up holes and Jordan showing what he can do on the field."

The knock on Hurd is that he's a waist bender. He doesn't bend enough where he should, at the ankles and knees, in order to create natural leverage. But at the same time, he makes up for it with above average foot work.

As an example of Hurd's athletic ability, he threw the javelin in high school, an event that takes speed, strength and balance to be effective.

"You've got to run up there as fast as you can and then stop on the line," said Hurd. "It's about being as athletic as you can. I guess you can translate javelin to being athletic."

In preparation for the Combine and the NFL Draft, Hurd has been working out at Athletic Performance Institute in Arizona along with several other elite athletes.

While there, he's been working out with renowned offensive line coach Alex Gibbs, a guru in the zone blocking system that the Packers employ.

He's also been practicing a little at center in order to more marketable. Hurd knows that professional teams usually only suit up seven or eight offensive linemen per game, so he has to be able to play multiple positions in order to make a roster.

"I've snapped a couple with Coach Gibbs. I was joking around with him telling him I was too tall for center," said Hurd who measured in at 6-7 at the Combine. "He said, 'No, no. Not at this level.'"

Whether the Packers would take a chance on him won't be known until April. But Hurd would relish the opportunity.

"They have a great program," said Hurd, "and I'd love to be a Packer."

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Comments (2)

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Jmac34's picture

March 24, 2011 at 11:22 am

Plus if he lost weight I could say that he is thinning the Hurd

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bomdad's picture

March 24, 2011 at 05:11 pm

Smokescreen for their pick of Jordan Todman?

UConn lost coach Randy Edsall, he was a great coach. Maybe too good, and its too bad they have two huge egos to pay in Calhoun and Auriemma and couldn't figure out a way to pay Edsall. When you go the to Fiesta Bowl and take a loss on the deal, you realize you're a basketball school and its pointless to have football.

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