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2011 NFL Combine Player Profiles: DL Cameron Heyward

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Ironhead's son really presses the opposing QBs.  Knocking the starch out of them is his goal. He loves to split the creases and steam into the backfield.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Ironhead's son really presses the opposing QBs. Knocking the starch out of them is his goal. He loves to split the creases and steam into the backfield. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
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With Mike Triplett of nola.com giving Ironhead's heir the profile treatment today, it seems prudent for us at CSC to give him the profile treatment today, too, especially since he grades out as a 1st or 2nd Round pick.

NFL.com's "Tale of the Tape" reads as such: source

  • Height: 6'5"
  • Weight: 294 lbs.
  • Arm Length: 34 1/4 in.
  • Hand Size: 10 1/8 in.
  • College: Ohio St.
  • Conference: Big 10
  • Position: DT

Make the jump to read on...

NFL.com's Combine page on Heyward provides us with the following overview:

Heyward is big versatile defensive end that can play in a 4-3 or a 3-4 at the next level. He is a powerful athlete at the point of attack that can eat up blocks in the running game and uses heavy active hands to shed quickly. He possesses a less than ideal burst, but is a relentless pass rusher that gets more sacks than he should. His greatest asset is his versatility, as he can control blockers to be effective in a two-gap scheme, but also could have an impact as a traditional defensive end in a 4-3. Heyward will likely not last past the first round.

as well as this analysis of his strengths and weaknesses:

Heyward is very strong with a great frame. Quick off the ball, delivers a violent punch to jar offensive lineman and shows good hand technique to slip blocks. Plays with sound leverage and anchors effectively in the running game. Versatile athlete that can play multiple positions along the defensive line. Four-year starter and very durable.

Does not have the burst to consistently get after the quarterback or make plays from the backside. Plays with a narrow base at times and can be pushed out of the play. Takes too long to recognize screens and draws and gets caught upfield too often. A bit inconsistent with his play.

CBSSports.com uses NFLDraftScout.com info for their player profiles, and according to their rankings, he's 7th at the DE position, and 30th overall. Going to the above link will also provide you with their overview, analysis, season-by-season breakdown of his career, as well as their complete 2011 rankings.

To save you a step, here is the overview,

After showing potential in the first two years in Columbus, Heyward, the son of late NFL running back Craig "Ironhead" Heyward, began making a name for himself with a breakout 2009 season. Scouts weren't overly impressed with his play throughout most of his senior year, but coaches named him first-team all-conference and his strong performance in the team's Sugar Bowl win over Arkansas underlined his potential.

The former top-10 recruit from Georgia played every game in his four-year career, contributing immediately as a true freshman in 2007 (33 tackles, 10 for loss, 2.5 sacks, three passes defended, eight starts in 13 games) because of injuries along the defensive line. He started every game as a sophomore, making 36 tackles, 4.5 for loss and three sacks, then earned second-team All-Big Ten honors in his breakout junior year (46 tackles, 10 for loss, 6.5 sacks). His numbers decreased in 2010 (48, 13 for loss, 3.5 sacks).

Heyward was scheduled to move inside in 2010, but the team's depth inside allowed him to anchor the edge as a starter -- though he lines up at every spot on the line except nose tackle, depending on the team's alignment. That versatility comes from his above-average strength, size, athleticism and effort and allows scouts to look past his inconsistent play and project him as a first-round talent.

and analysis:

Pass rush: Though not a true outside pass-rush threat, he will pressure the quarterback no matter where he lines up. Lines up on either end, as well as at the five-technique and uses quickness off the snap and excellent length to split double-teams, get inside of linemen when man-up, or push back guards into the pocket. Agile enough to be effective on twists from the outside. Running backs and tight ends are no match against Heyward in pass protection. Tough one-on-one matchup for guards inside due to his lateral quickness, hustle and club move. Corrals and punishes quarterbacks in the backfield, closing quickly and exploding into the tackle. Inconsistent disengaging from blocks; better left tackles can stand him up and latch on with impunity. Can be pushed back with an initial punch but keeps coming to provide a strong secondary rush. Not a great threat to turn the corner from the edge. Forces tackle up the field and can spin inside to prevent scrambles or pressure quarterbacks stepping up into the pocket. Has the length to affect passing lanes when unable to reach the passer but could get his hands up more often.

Run defense: Strong against the run whether lining up against guards or tackles. Crashes down to close gaps. Can spin off of blocks when runners cut back against the grain. Crashes down on inside runs, using length to get into a play. Good punch to knock his man back, attacks the ball when it is in his area. Maintains edge discipline to prevent bootleg plays on his side of the field. His height can be used against him -- he fails to get low on occasion and loses leverage against stronger guards and double teams. Susceptible to cut blocks, though he is athletic enough to recover and get back into the play. Too strong for tight ends to handle one-on-one and uses leverage and hands to blow through edge blocks. Only adequate backfield awareness, will be sucked in on misdirection and lacks great change-of-direction agility.

Explosion: Excellent quickness off the snap, splits double teams with ease and provides a rare pop into his blocker's pads to knock him back. Will be first man off the ball when pinning his ears back on the rush. Very difficult for slower linemen to match his combination of strength and explosiveness, makes beating them look easy.

Strength: Flashes great upper-body and hand strength, dominating most college linemen with leverage and burst, but does not consistently overwhelm better players. Does not have exceptional muscle definition in his arms. Plays tall inside and lacks a great anchor to maintain his ground against NFL-caliber double-team blocking.

Tackling: Solid tackler; can be explosive and always gives good effort. Leans when closing on the ball to ensure contact and his long arms allow him to wrap consistently. Good hustle downfield on screens. Also follows plays down the line and can chase to the opposite sideline. Best when attacking plays in front of him. Though he can redirect well for his height and size, he doesn't change direction easily and lacks the immediate burst to play on the edge in the NFL.

Intangibles: He has a great attitude, work ethic and immense talent. Well-liked by his teammates and coaches, he has fun playing the game. Hustles without wearing down much during the game. Returned for his senior season because he enjoyed college and wanted to win a national championship. Father, the late Craig "Ironhead" Heyward, was a star running back in college and the NFL. Stepfather is Cory Blackwell, a star basketball player for the Wisconsin Badgers in the 1980s who played one season for the NBA's Seattle Sonics.

Triplett sees him as a possible option for us in the first round, but what do you think?

Vote in the poll and then comment to your heart's content below.

If you didn't read the caption on the picture at the top closely yet, please do so now to enjoy the full effect of my theme-based wit. You're welcome.