NFL Draft Scouting Report: Cameron Heyward
- -Great size and frame, could even add more weight
- -Versatile, fits best in a 3-4, but can play inside in a 4-3
- -Decent speed for his size
- -Strong at the point of attack, doesn’t give up ground
- -Anchor’s well and gets good initial leverage
- -Excellent play recognition and an ability to find the ball
- -Instinctive, takes good angles to the ball carrier
- -High motor guy, doesn’t give up on plays.
- -Long arms, doesn’t allow tackles get into his body, also an excellent hand fighter
- -has a very good bull rush move, gets good penetration and pressure
- -Sure tackler, with good technique
- -Hard worker, who is always trying to get better
- -Lacks an initial burst off the line
- -Doesn’t translate pressure into sacks. Disrupts in the backfield some but not fast enough to consistently get to the quarterback.
- -Streaky at times, there are entire quarters or halves where he is contained.
- -Not a big time stats guy, didn’t have a great senior season
- -recovering from an elbow injury, had to miss Senior Bowl and working out at the combine.
Heyward is a guy I probably like more than most. I realize he isn’t the greatest athlete or fastest pass rusher, but that isn’t his game. He’s a run stopper in a 3-4 at the 5-technique that can penetrate and be disruptive. I love his instincts and play recognition, which I think are harder things to teach. Combine that with his work ethic and leadership, and I’m sold. He’s the type of guy who won’t always make the highlight reel, but his play will constantly help others come up with the big play.
I really liked what I saw out of him in both last year’s Rose Bowl against Oregon, and this season’s Sugar Bowl against Arkansas. In both games, he really came up big and made plays all over the field. He was a disruptive force anywhere he lined up, and was a big part in the Buckeyes winning both games. The Sugar Bowl was even more impressive, as for much of the game he went up against Arkansas tackle DeMarcus Love, who is a mid-round prospect. Love (or anyone else on Arkansas) didn’t have an answer for Heyward, and he made a number of big plays. Heyward also played through that game with an ankle injury, showcasing his toughness and teamwork.
Heyward’s father, the late Craig “Ironhead” Heyward, was a former first round pick and quality running back in the NFL. Not only does Cameron, have the bloodlines, but he knows first hand the work he will need to do to succeed at the next level (which he already shows). I love the motor and attitude, which shows up on every play. He’s not going to be a 7-10 sack guy, and he won’t make Pro Bowls each year, but he will be a very good starter, who is a key component to his team’s success.
I think Heyward is a top 25 talent, but he will likely fall given the lack of sacks and the elbow injury. He could slide into the middle of the 2nd round, at which point he will be an incredible steal.